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Theatre department's 'Singin' in the Rain' an accessible, lovable adaptation of film

By Matt Goudreau
On April 27, 2012


Although I don't consider myself a theatre scholar, I do have some experience watching several plays and have even done some stage work myself. Most shrug at theatre, but I find it one of the most engaging and watchable forms of entertainment. When I heard that the University of Rhode Island theatre department was performing "Singin' in the Rain," based off of the 1952 Gene Kelly classic, I jumped at the chance to go. After the performance was over, I was glad to say that I did not leave disappointed.

For the sake of time, I don't feel it completely necessary to discuss the story or plot because there is so much more to discuss.  First of all, the set and production rivals the finest work on Broadway. It really seemed that the designers and stagehands took the 1920s and '30s out of a time capsule and brought it to the forefront on stage.

The attire and costumes, backdrops, and even the items on set including the lamps and curtains matched the times of the play. It really captured the essence of the time period in a way that even the film struggled. It did not feel dated in the slightest. When the title song began and the rain started to fall, I was impressed at how easily it transitioned in a way that wasn't cheesy or too over the top.

Like any good musical, the selling point has to be the music. All the trademark songs from the film are present and the actors did an excellent job. It was great to see that they were not necessarily channeling the performances from the film, but did their own interpretations. Not only was the singing spot-on, but the choreography and the dance work was second to none. I must say I really enjoyed the performances of every music number, specifically the "Good Morning" song. I was left in awe at the dance work and the amount of practice that must have gone into the numbers.

It was the most fun I've had watching a performance in a long time. I really admire how the department has chosen accessible plays for all ages, and "Singin' in the Rain" is no different. There was no real profanity and it's a great introduction. It seemed like everyone completely gave it their all, from the actors to the costume designers to the stage directors. URI has had a great season for the theatre department, and what a way to cap it off.

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