PLAY REVIEW: Central Montcalm’s ‘Singing in the Rain’ a timeless story

Chris Swanson in the role of Cosmo Brown belts out “Beautiful Girls” in Central Montcalm’s production of “Singing in the Rain.” — Daily News/Lori Hansen

Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Mary Pickford were famous names in the silent picture shows of the early 20th century.

“Singing in the Rain,” a production put on by Central Montcalm Public School, gives a picture of how those stars of the silent screen adapted to the new “talking picture show.”

“Singing in the Rain” opens at 7:30 p.m. tonight and runs through Saturday. Tickets are $5 at the door, with doors opening at 7 p.m. The show is appropriate for children, although the two-hour length may be a little long for the very youngest.

“The show takes place in 1927 when the silent movies shifted into talking movies. All of a sudden, the actors and actresses had to talk good and sing good and dance good,” said stage director Candace Huntley.

With more than 100 roles in the play, numerous actors carry several roles, but costumes changes, along with scene changes are quick.

“Chris (Swanson) and Bruce (Reames) are in their seventh and eighth year, starting with Peter Pan. I knew they were good solid actors who along with others, would make a good base,” said Huntley of the two lead actors.

Swanson pleasantly pulls off the comic role of Cosmo Brown, while Reames charmingly plays the lead role of Don Lockwood, a star of the silent movies.  Lockwood has been linked with starlet Lina Lamont, the beautiful Mackenna Myers, and they enjoy the publicity of an on-screen romance.

Chris Swanson as Cosmo Brown and Bruce Reames as Don Lockwood play the lead roles in Central Montcalm Public School’s production of “Singing in the Rain.” — Daily News/Lori Hansen

Lamont, however, believes the romance extends off the screen as well. Lockwood inadvertently falls for an up-and-coming actress, Kathy Seldan, portrayed confidently by Kaitlyn Klingensmith.

A flashback scene cleverly shows the audience how Lamont, as a child, got his start in show business.

“That stimulated my love for performing,” says Lamont.

Modern black and white film clips are interspersed among the production, helping to portray a feel for the era.

It also shows the transition actors and actresses had to make from being silent to actually talking on screen.

After a premiere, Cosmo dons Lockwood’s coat, helping Lockwood to escape unnoticed by his adoring fans.

“I love playing the role of a star. It fits so well,” says Cosmo. “Not the coat, but the role.”

As Lockwood tries to hide from his fans, he meets Kathy, an actress of the stage. The two quickly fall in love.

Reames nails several wonderful solos, Reames and Klingensmith blend well together on duets, and Reames and Swanson do a wonderful performance of “Moses Supposes His Toes Are Roses.” Swanson also does a fantastic job on “Make ’Em Laugh.”

When all involved realize Lina’s grating voice isn’t going to work well with the new fad of the “talkies,” Cosmo plots how to dub Kathy’s voice, changing their next film from “The Dueling Cavaliers” to “The Dancing Cavalier”

“But Lina can’t talk, can’t sing and can’t dance,” says Cosmo, “She is a triple threat.”

The gentlemen, knowing the rivalry between Lina and Kathy, and knowing Lina’s ego, plot how to pull off the switch.

To learn if they do it successfully, you will have to attend  Central Montcalm’s presentation of “Singing in the Rain.”

If you go …

What: “Singing in the Rain”

Where: Central Montcalm High School

When: 7:30 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday

Tickets: $5 at the door

Cast: Don Lockwood, Bruce Reames; Cosmo Brown, Chris Swanson; Kathy Seldan, Kaitlyn Klingensmith; Lina Lamont, Mackenna Myers; R.F Simpson, Cameron Sprowls; Roscoe Dexter, Tyler Skeet; Dora Bailey, Victoria Petersen; Zelda Zanders, Jessi Miller; Sid Phillips, Jacob Winnie; Male Diction Teacher, Kyler LInderman; Miss Densmore, Alyssa Ruggles; Rod, Harrison Myers; 1st Assistant, Abigail Minzey; 2nd Assistant, Scylar Blaisdell; 3rd Assistant, Lauren Lora; Sound Engineer, Lillian Blaisdell; Wardrobe Mistress, Morgan Smith; Hair Dreseser, Hannah Reames; Police Man, Chris Swanson; Workman No. 1,Britney Wittkopp; Workman No. 2, Kayla Anderson; Butler, Kelsea Ringleka; Young Don, Harrison Myers; Chef, Morgan Smith; Girl, Lillian Blaisdell; Young Cosmo, Madison Court; Production Singer, Kyler Linderman; Olga Mara, Alyssa Ruggles; Mary Margaret, Lauren Lora; Tom Mix, Bailey Parker; Talking Man, Harrison; Ped No. 1, Paityn Blaisdell; Ped No. 2 Abigail Minzey; J. Cumberland Spindell III, Kyler LInderman; Sugar Daddy, Jacob Winnie; Charlie Chaplin, Markey Klingensmith; Mrs. R.F. Simpson, Skylar Blaisdell; Chinese Doorman, Lillian Blaisdell; Villian, Chris Swanson; Photographers, Hannah Willmore, Morgan Smith and Markey Klingensmith; Bouncer, Jacob Winnie; Dancer, Hannah Reames; Flick and Flack, Britney Wittkopp and Paityn Blaisdell; Sign Changer, Kayla Anderson; Fan No. 1, Morgan Smith; Fan No. 2 Lauren Lora; Lady-in-waiting, Hannah Reames.

Beautiful Girls: Alyssa Ruggles, Lillian Blaisdell, Scylar Blaisdell, Morgan Smith, Victoria Petersen, Lauren Lora, Hannah Reames, Jessi Miller, Hannah Willmore and Kaitlyn Klingensmith.

Cake Dancers: Kaitlyn Klingensmith, Madison Court, Abigail Minzey, Kelsea Ringleka, Britney Wittkopp, Kayla Anderson, Drucilla Phenix and Paitlyn Blaisdell.

Audience Members: Lillian Blaisdell, Britney Wittkopp, Lauren Lora, Markey Klingensmith, Kayla Anderson, Bailey Parker, Jessi Smith, Kelsea Ringleka, Abigail Minzey, Hannah Reames, Madison Court, Drucilla Phenix, Paityn Blaisdell, Morgan Smith, Harrison Myers, Cameron Sprowls, Jacob Winnie, Bailey Parker, Jessi Smith, Kyler LInderman, Lauren Lora, Markey Klingensmith, Jessi Miller, Scylar Blaisdell, Alyssa Ruggles and Tyler Skeet.

Chorus: Victoria Petersen, Lillian Blaisdell, Britney Wittkopp, Morgan Smith, Hannah Reames, Madison court, Kelsea Ringleka, Kayla Anderson, Drucilla Phenix, Paityn Blaisdell and Abigail Minzey

Crew: Michelle Coe, accompanist/music director; Candace Huntley, stage director; Betsy Klingensmith, music assistant; Coleen Myers and cast, make up; Betsy Klingensmith and cast, hair; Marilyn Houghten, Michelle Coe, Candace Huntley and Betsy Klingensmith, costumes; Cadace Huntley, Betsy Klingensmith, Victoria Peterson, Kaitlyn Klingensmith and Markey Klingensmith, set; Hannah Willmore, Conner Sprowls, Candace Huntley and cast, backstage; Aaron Willmore, video; Isabelle Williams, lights/spot light.

 Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.

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