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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Beef and Boards continues their ambitious 2018 season with a return of their 2011 smash, Singin’ in the Rain. Director Eddie Curry and choreographer Ron Morgan once again join forces, and B&B favorites Timothy Ford and Sarah Hund reprise their roles from the ’11 production as Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont.

Joining Ford and Ms. Hund are Buddy Reeder, who was last seen at B&B in Mary Poppins and CATS and who here plays Don Lockwood’s sidekick, Cosmo Brown; along with Kimberly Doreen Burns, who made her Beef & Boards debut last season as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and who plays Lockwood’s love interest, Hollywood newcomer, Kathy Selden.

Good Morning

Buddy Reeder (Cosmo Brown), Kimberley Doreen Burns (Kathy Selden), and Timothy Ford (Don Lockwood) presnt the “Good Morning” number from B&B’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain”.

The famous original film version of Singin’ in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debby Reynolds, premiered in 1952. It was re-imagined as a theatrical production, presented in London in 1983 and brought to the US, directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp, in 1985. Notably, the 2006 stage version of the show which I saw here was my very first visit to Beef and Boards, so it has a special place in my heart and memory.

Director Curry’s choice to keep the tone of the storytelling style very mid-fifties and rather close to the original film version is spot-on. Aided by Jill Kelly Howe’s marvelous array of costumes, we are transported to a more carefree era of silent film productions. The style is dated, to be sure, but works wonderfully well here. Michael Layton’s fine and effective set design completes the picture.

I had my lawyers go over my contract

Eddie Curry (Roscoe Dexter), Sarah Hund (Lina Lamont), and Douglas E. Stark (R.F. Simpson) ina a scene from B&B’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain”.

Ford and Ms. Burns make a lovely stage couple – their duets are sharp and lively. Ms. Burns impresses with her immense talents. She is a genuine triple-threat for the stage – with high proficiency in her acting, dance and vocals. Her song “You Are My Lucky Star” is a standout in the show. Ford makes his stage work look easy, and has true leading man qualities. We last saw him here in B&B’s Into the Woods, and The Drowsy Chaperone, and he more than matches those fine efforts, especially in his very wet and iconic “Singin’ in the Rain” number, which closes the first act and is presented on a well designed, self draining, rain-on-the-stage set piece.

Buddy Reeder takes on the Donald O’Connor role from the film with an appropriately energetic approach. His “Make ’em Laugh” is a strong mimic of the movie original and his impressive dance skills are a spotlighted treat. As always, Sarah Hund is delightful in her comedy role as not-ready-for-the-talkies Lina Lamont. Over the years, we have seen Ms. Hund do every type of stage role, and whether she is dramatic or comedic, she invariably finds just the right levels to provide an outstanding performance. When she finally gets her chance to solo with Lamont’s witty lament “What’s Wrong With Me?”, she makes every note and every nuanced move count for comedy.

Beautiful Girl

Some of Jill Kelly Howe’s lavish costume designs are on display in the “Beautiful Girl” number from B&B’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain”.

Ample support is provided by a cadre of performers: Susan Boilek Smith is perfect as Hollywood maven, Dora Bailey; AnnaLee Traeger provides Lamont gal-pal Zelda Zanders with a lively persona; Michael Shelton has fun with the Diction Teacher role; Douglas E. Stark is just right as film mogul R.F. Simpson; and Eddie Curry plays film director Roscoe Dexter with inordinate understanding!

Choreographer Ron Morgan’s routines are sparkling and lavish, especially those employing the talents of his entire dance corps. The lead trio of Ms. Burns and Mssrs. Ford and Reeder lay out some exacting and nimble tap numbers, which please the audience no end.

As usual – the awesome buffet and unfettered attention of the B&B wait staff add to the outing’s enjoyment. And the desserts are way too tempting!

Bottomline: Even a major technical glitch (these things happen occasionally in live theatre) couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm this cast received from the audience. The show has plenty of sparkle and smash, plus a nice balance of comedy and romance, and the familiarity of the score is a definite plus.

Singin’ in the Rain continues at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre through May 26th. Show times and reservations can be viewed at http://www.beefandboards.com or you may call the box office at  317-872-9664.

* – Photos by Julie Curry

 

 

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