Theater Review: Singing in the Rain mediocre at best

Classic story takes the stage
Theater Review: Singing in the Rain mediocre at best

Food, drinks and a live performance, what more could one ask for? Roger Rockas Diner Theater kicks off 2023 with a lively performance of Singing in the Rain. It will be the 280th show put on by Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater, and the fourth time the company has put on Singing in the Rain since 1978. Star-crossed lovers, forced apart by their social status and sabotaged by an entitled diva fight to make the relationship work.

Roger Rocka brings their own rendition of Singing in the Rain. Photo Credit: Danielle Arndt

Singing in the Rain is a reminiscent musical that has proven itself as an ageless classic, remaining as relevant as it was 70 years prior when it first premiered. The musical follows the transition of the film industry; silent television is out and talking pictures (talkies) are in. Hotshot Don Lockwood has starred many times with the beautiful yet vexatious Lina Lamont. The two are an iconic romance duo in the silent pictures.

However, when Lockwood and Lamont’s newest film is expected to become a musical it is clear that Lina only possesses a pretty face and not the vocal talent required. Striving actress Kathy Seldon is thrust into the role of Lina’s voiceover but finds herself falling in love with Don while trying to keep the project from failing. The only way to experience theater is live, so let’s go watch!

The matinee performance started promptly at two in the afternoon, but it is always ideal to come at least thirty minutes before in order to be settled. Soon after we were seated a waiter came around offering refreshments. They had a variety to select from, each reflected an element of the show. They had both an alcoholic and nonalcoholic option for the crowd.

Some of the young performers participated in both the preshow and the main act. Photo Credit: Danielle Arndt 

We sampled the River Side Lemonade and the Virgins Shark Cooler. The River Side Lemonade was splendidly made, it looked like the reminiscence of a sunset and matched the color pallet of the show, targeting the main colors of pastel orange and a vivid yellow. Despite its beautiful exterior, the drink was overwhelming. The undistinguishable mix of sweet and tart was exhilarating at first, but by the fourth sip, the aftertaste left me with a headache from the sugar rush.

As for the Virgins Shark Cooler, aesthetically it was beautiful, an ombre from white to blue, looking that of a foamed caped wave. Much like the River Side Lemonade, the taste was overwhelming, pineapple with a splash of coconut. Each was flavorful yet failed to keep the balance that a good drink should have.

As people settled in the pre-show was afoot. Jr. Company spotlighted the talent of the company’s young performers. They brought a cheery lightheartedness with a series of short musical numbers, all of which had a clever meaning that was incorporated into the main show. ‘Here Comes the Sun‘, Colors of the Wind, and In Summer were some of their weather-inspired numbers.

William and Hartley kick off the show with enthusiasm. Photo Credit: Danielle Arndt

Laughter rang through the air as the lights dimmed, the curtains were drawn and it was show time. However, in the case of this production, the projection screen dropped and we were taken to Hollywood, 1927.

The show opened strong with the crowd meeting the charismatic Don Lockwood played by GCP’s Shawn Williams. He brought the character alive with a devilish smirk and tailored suit that perfectly depicted his character.

Kathy Seldon was artfully portrayed by Kaitlin Dean, whose voice was beautiful but lacked the stage confidence that was required. The trio is completed by Peter Hartley who took on the role of Cosmo Brown.

The character is supposed to be the comedic relief of the show yet it looked rather forced on stage. Whether it was the nerves of being in front of the audience, there seemed to be a timed feel of the actors that took away from their total performance.

Madeline Wristen gave an exceptional performance as Lina Lamont. Photo Credit: Danielle Arndt

Despite the lack of stage presence, Madeline Wristen abundantly made up for as an electrifying Lina Lamont. She stole the show as the ditzy diva, nailing the notorious high-pitched nagging vocals that Jean Hagen the actress from the original movie made so iconic.

The first act went out with a bang as Shawn Williams closed with the title song Singing in the Rain. There were mishaps as the backdrop projection portraying the rain rather than adding to the performance seemed to distract and seemed rather dull.

Nevertheless, the first act had ended and intermission came and went. The wait staff was efficient and exquisite desserts were presented. We tried the New York Cheese Cake which was beautifully plated and tasted as good as it looked. As well as the berry cobbler that had both options of normal, heated, or ala mode.

The second act closes the show with a bang. Photo Credit: Danielle Arndt

We sampled it warmed and ala mode, it had the perfect contrast of flavors and temperature. The cold of the ice cream forced you to savor the warm cobbler. My stomach was happy and my spirits were high as the second act started.

Lights were brighter, voices louder, and everything about the second act seemed to outshine the first. Confidence seemed to rise on stage and the ease of the actors made the performance that much better.

The climax was portrayed well and the acting invested whoever was watching. The audience was entranced by the end and once the curtains were drawn for the last time every pair of hands in the room were applauding the performance.

Despite minor inconveniences, it was a well-produced show that is definitely worth experiencing. The performance will be showing through March 12, so get your tickets now!

For another theater review Theatre Review: Legally Blonde fails to meet expectations.

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About the Contributor
Danielle Arndt, Editor
Second-year journalist, Danielle Arndt, ‘26, continues her journey as a returning writer for The Feather Online. Arndt believes in the importance of integrity, dedicating herself wholly to whatever she puts her mind to. Self-proclaimed movie enthusiast, she loves immersing herself in the cinematic world, hiding from reality. Writing has always been the way she could express herself and the stories living rent-free in her mind. Arndt aspires to be an author, she cannot hold her excitement to grow in the fields of journalism.
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