Singin’ In The Rain

Singin’ in the Rain
July 25 -29

Hollywood’s most acclaimed movie musical makes a splashy return to our stage, with slapstick antics, spectacular dance numbers, and the chance to see it actually rain onstage. Wonderful songs include “You Were Meant for Me,” “Moses Supposes,” “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “All I Do is Dream of You,” and that unforgettable title tune.Based on the MGM Film

(Original Choreography by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen)
Screenplay By BETTY COMDEN and ADOLPH GREEN
Songs By NACIO HERB BROWN and ARTHUR FREED
Produced by Arrangement With Maurice Rosenfield,
Lois F. Rosenfield and Cindy Pritzker, Inc.
Music Published by EMI Robbins Catalog Inc.

Rated G – designed for the whole family audience (5 and older)
(Running time approx. 2 hr. 20 min.)


Guest Stars

DAVID ELDER (Don Lockwood) returns to MTWichita, where he appeared as Bobby Child in Crazy for You, a role which won him a Kevin Kline Award for his performance at Stages St. Louis. Broadway credits include Curtains (Bobby Pepper), 42nd Street (Billy Lawlor, Outer Critics and Astaire Award Noms.), Kiss Me Kate (Bill Calhoun/ Lucentio), Titanic (Fleet, the lookout), Once Upon A Mattress (Sir Harry), Damn Yankees (Bomber), Beauty and the Beast, and Guys and Dolls. David charmed as ladies’ man Phil Davis in the National Tour of White Christmas, played Joe Hardy in the National Tour of DamnYankees opposite Jerry Lewis, and recently won rave reviews from the New York Times for his leading role in the new Jack Cole anthology Heatwave. For Los Angeles Reprise! he portrayed Gabey in On the Town, for Encores! in New York he was Timothy Harper in Strike Up the Band opposite Kristin Chenoweth, for the Walnut Street Theatre he was Hildy Johnson in Windy City, and at Stages St. Louis he played bridegroom Robert Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone. With Gene Kelly being one of David’s major inspirations, he is particularly excited to return to Singin’ in the Rain, in which he previously starred for Goodspeed Musicals. TV/Film credits include “Across the Universe,” “Cradle Will Rock,” “Jeffrey” and “The Guiding Light.”

MARY MICHAEL PATTERSON (Kathy Selden) is thrilled to be making her MTWichita debut playing one of her dream roles. She most recently appeared on Broadway in the Tony Award winning revival of Anything Goes, performing the role of Hope Harcourt, and she also appeared as Liesl Von Trapp in The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall. She has worked regionally at the St. Louis MUNY and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan. Mary Michael would like to express her unending love and gratitude to her mother and father, and sister Katelyn for constantly supporting her in all of her endeavors and flying all across the country to be her biggest fans. She would absolutely not be here without them. Much love and thanks to her wonderful family and friends, Wayne, Linda, Mark, Brent, Dian, David, Joel, Jeremy, and Nicolosi and Co. For her new niece, Josephine, and her love, Cary.

CARY TEDDER (Cosmo Brown) was raised in Marietta, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Michigan Musical Theatre program. While a sophomore in college, he took a semester off to make his Broadway debut in Twyla Tharp’s Bob Dylan musical, The Times They Are a Changin.’ After returning to UMich (where he played Mark in RENT), Cary went on the road as Snowboy (and sometimes as Tony) in the National Tour of West Side Story. He returned to Broadway as an original cast member of the Tony Award winning Best Musical Memphis. Other credits include regional productions at the St. Louis MUNY, the Pittsburgh CLO, and the North Shore Music Theatre, where he recently portrayed Ambrose Kemper in Hello, Dolly! Thanks to Mom, Dad, and HCA, and to Linda, Wayne, and Mark, and love to Mary Michael. Go Blue!

ANNE HORAK (Lina Lamont) is thrilled to be back at MTWichita where she has been featured as Natalie in All Shook Up, Judy Haynes in White Christmas, Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Judy Turner in A Chorus Line, Lady Larken in Once Upon a Mattress, Babette in Beauty and the Beast, and Velma in West Side Story. Anne performed on Broadway as Rita in White Christmas, played Hulde in Music In The Air at City Center Encores!, and co-starred as Inga in the National Tour of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. Regionally she has been seen as Gretchen in Boeing, Boeing and Bambi Bernét in Curtains at Paper Mill Playhouse, Shelby in Steel Magnolias at North Carolina Theatre, Hope Harcourt in Anything Goes at Taipei National Theatre, and as Phyllis in 42nd Street, Liza in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and a Silly Girl in Beauty and the Beast at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. Anne appeared in the new musical Lone Star Love, or the Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and as Paquette in Candide at the Bellingham Music Festival. TV credits include guest starring roles on “Royal Pains,” “A Gifted Man,” and “Law and Order: SVU.” Anne is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She would like to send special love and thanks to Wayne, Mark, Roger, Linda, and Nancy, as well to her family for all of their love and support. www.annehorak.com


Supporting Cast


CHARLES PARKER (R. F. Simpson) Having just completed his umpteenth year on the Friends University faculty, C.P. is blessed with his umpteenth opportunity to work with that wonderful group of professionals who serve MTWichita and the surrounding communities. Teaching is now replaced with the honor of performing with some of the best and for the best of audiences. Parker is blessed again with an opportunity to play some great roles. His past favorites include Biggley in How to Succeed…, Pickering in My Fair Lady, Ziegfeld in Funny Girl, Herr Schultz in Cabaret, Parchester in Me and My Girl and General Waverly in White Christmas, FDR in Annie, and two previous incarnations as the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof. Thanks to Wayne for the gracious invitation and opportunity. Thanks to the company of performers, technicians, and assistants who always make the summers a delight. Thanks to Patty for her encouragement and love. Thanks to God for all blessings.


TIMOTHY W. ROBU (Roscoe Dexter) is delighted to be a part of this year’s MTWichita season, as well as many previous ones. Audiences may remember Tim in past roles such as John Hancock in 1776, Billis in South Pacific, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, Amos Hart in Chicago, Oscar Shapiro in Curtains, Mr. Feldzeig in The Drowsy Chaperone, Herbie in Gypsy, Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof and Drake in HONK!. Tim also performs at several other venues in the Wichita area, including Mosley Street Melodrama and the Crown Uptown Theatre. Tim has served as Technical Director at the Crown Theatre and Artistic Director of the children’s program there. When not working at Wichita’s fine theatres, Tim has plenty to keep him busy as father to his two daughters, Katie and Francie. An added bonus to this year’s season is the chance to perform with his talented wife Karen in three of the season’s shows. Thanks to Wayne and all the folks in Wichita who produce theatre, perform theatre, and enjoy theatre. They make the Wichita area a great place to work, live, and bring up kids in.

BONNIE BING (Dora Bailey) is happy to return to MTWichita, and to the role of Dora Bailey, which she played in the 2000 edition of Singin’ in the Rain.  Her other MTW credits include Sunset Boulevard, The Wizard of Oz, and Annie Get Your Gun. She also has been on Broadway. The Orpheum on Broadway Street, that is, doing skits in Gridiron, the satirical show presented by local journalists. She recently retired from her longtime job as fashion and features writer for The Wichita Eagle. She wants to thank Wayne for being so trusting and encouraging. And her husband, Dick Honeyman, who is surely the most patient man on earth.

 

DANI YOUNG (Phoebe Dinsmore) is so honored to be back at MTWichita! Favorite MTW performances include Fiddler on the Roof, 9 to 5, HONK!, The Producers and Les Miserables. Favorite roles include Miss Jones in How to Succeed (WSU) directed by Wayne Bryan, Pennywise in Urinetown (WSU), plus Ida in HONK! and the Witch in Into the Woods (Friends University). The biggest thanks to Wayne, Nancy, Roger, Josh, and Mary Sue for this amazing job! Lovies to Mom, Dad, John and Graham!

JOHN KECKEISEN (Diction Teacher) is thrilled to be returning to MTWichita for the summer! Regional credits: Sunset Boulevard, Finian’s Rainbow (Mary Jane Teall nomination, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical), The Music Man, and Fiddler on the Roof (MTW); Leading Ladies (Black Hills Playhouse), Love, Sex, and the IRS (Crown Uptown), High School Musical (Topeka Civic Theatre). Thanks to Wayne, Nancy and the whole MTW family for this opportunity. Big love to Moogi, Dad, and Katie! BFA, Wichita State University. www.johnkeckeisen.com

NICHOLAS J. REESE (Young Don

 

GAVIN MYERS (Young Cosmo) is ecstatic to be performing in this show with such a great cast. Favorite roles in his many MTW shows include Gavroche in Les Mis, Tom of Warwick in Camelot, and the Cabin Boy in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. Favorite roles elsewhere include Oliver, McQueen, Ching Ho, Pappy Yokum, Mayor of Who, Scarecrow, Sir Francis Chesney, and Nathan Detroit. The 3-time Jester Award recipient is very proud to represent our area in New York at the Jimmy Awards in June. Special thanks to Wayne, Mark, Nancy, Josh, Laura, great friends, a supportive family, and especially God.

SARAH FAGAN (Cyd) is thrilled to make her musical debut with Music Theatre of Wichita and is very thankful for this opportunity! She just graduated from Oklahoma City University with a degree in dance performance, where she appeared in many shows with the American Spirit Dance Company. Sarah would like to thank her family at home and at OCU for their support.

HANNAH FREEMAN (Zelda Zanders) couldn’t be more excited to be making her MTWichita debut! Hannah is a sophomore musical theatre major at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). CCM: Dream Laurey in Oklahoma! and Fredrika in A Little Night Music. Many, many thanks to Wayne, Nancy and MTWichita for this wonderful opportunity and to her family for their endless and inspirational support.

Artistic Staff

LINDA GOODRICH (Director/Choreographer) has directed and choreographed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Directing credits include Bat Boy and Smokey Joe’s Café for TheatreWorks, both of which received San Francisco Bay Area Awards for excellence in direction. Other directing credits include Cabaret, Side Show, Oklahoma!, Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy!, 42nd Street, and new works Gibson Fleck and A Good Boy. Choreographic credits include Company with Carol Burnett, High Button Shoes and Strike Up The Band at Goodspeed Opera House, Singin’ in the Rain and Annie at Paper Mill Playhouse, plus a national tour and several regional productions of Singin’ in the Rain (beginning here at  MTWichita). NYC credits include Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York Music Theatre Festival, and Platforms (Best Choreography). Linda credits much of her artistic development to her work at MTW, which  includes Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, West Side Story, The Producers, Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly!, Damn Yankees, South Pacific,  Oliver!, The Music Man, Seussical, On the Town (in which she also  played “Miss Turnstiles” Ivy Smith), and the world premiere of the revised Good News!. Other theatres include TUTS in Houston, Seattle’s 5th Avenue, Sacramento Music Circus, St. Louis MUNY, Pittsburgh CLO, St. Louis Rep., La Mirada, and Cincinnati Playhouse. Linda performed in the Broadway and national companies of Cabaret, and staged the European tour. Her work has also been seen in touring editions of Blues Clues Live!, Dora the Explorer, and KidzBop Live!. She lives in Michigan with her sons Tyler and Garret, where she is a professor of musical theatre at the University of Michigan. Thank you and great love to Izzy and Alex, and appreciation to Wayne, who fueled every step of her career!

THOMAS W. DOUGLAS (Musical Director / Conductor) is thrilled to be celebrating thirteen seasons with such a wonderful artistic family at MTWichita, having led 43 productions with this remarkable company. Thomas has done more than 200 musical theater, opera, orchestral and oratorio productions, including conducting Webber’s Phantom of the Opera in Switzerland. Highlights include Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Bizet’s Carmen Jones, Master Class and Mondo Mangia with the late Jillene Ringle. As the Artistic Director of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, he is receiving acclaim for adventurous, innovative debuts and premier programs, including Carmina Burana Africana, Messiah in Space, and a presentation of standard choral masterpieces with a fusion rock band and string orchestra accompaniment. On stage he has enjoyed the roles of Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Amonasro in Aida, and Fats Waller in Ain’t Misbehavin’, both in the U.S. and in Malaysia. Thomas is on the faculty of both the Drama and the Music schools at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is the proud recipient of the Mary Jane Teall Award, and is the Musical Director of the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra. He is now developing his one man show entitled “Under the Influence” based on his eclectic group of musical experiences.

 

ALEX FINKE (Asst. Director) is really enjoying the variety of her first summer in Wichita. She was thrilled to make her MTWichita debut as Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof, enjoyed playing Franklin Hart’s unsuspecting wife in 9 to 5, and loved being both gossipy Henrietta and libidinous cat Queenie in HONK!  She is a recent University of Michigan graduate, hailing from Dayton, Ohio. Favorite roles include: Jane in Tarzan (Regional Premiere) at Wagon Wheel, and Vicki in The Full Monty at University of Michigan. At the conclusion of this summer, she begins rehearsals as Hope Harcourt in the National Tour of Anything Goes. Thanks and love to Mom, Dad, Sarah, Chris and Jimmy!


 

 

ISABELLE McCALLA (Asst. Choreographer) is from Rockland County, New York, and comes to MTWichita directly from the St. Louis MUNY, where she performed in Disney’s Aladdin. She is thrilled to be making her MTW, working with Linda Goodrich. Isabelle will be a sophomore musical theatre major at the University of Michigan this fall. Other credits include Chicago, Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown), She Loves Me (Amalia), and Oklahoma! (Gertie).

 

SARAH REEVER (Costumer) is delighted to be returning to Music Theatre and her hometown of Wichita, where last summer she costumed Finian’s Rainbow. An MFA graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she currently works at the off-Broadway theatre Playwrights’ Horizons with other MTW alumni, Tiia Torchia and Carrie Buettner. Her freelance design work has been seen at the NYFringe Festival, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Madison Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, and the Manhattan Children’s Theatre, and The Vital Theatre. As always, many thanks to the Costume Shop for all their hard work and dedication and also to Mom, Dad, and Dan for all their love and support.

 

DAVID NEVILLE Lighting Designer/Projections) is enjoying his 29th season of “Camp MTW.” In addition to many productions at MTWichita, David has designed lighting for North Shore Music Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, Omaha Symphony, The United States Air Force, Stage One, Ordway Music Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, The University of Michigan, Penn State University, Portland Center Stage, North Carolina Theatre, Music Theatre West, Arkansas Rep, Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, George Street Playhouse, California Music Circus, The 5th Avenue Theatre and Off-Broadway. David’s favorite designs at MTW include Les Misérables, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Cats, Ragtime, Once on this Island, and Jesus Christ Superstar. David also teaches lighting and scenic design at Wichita State University.

DAVID MUEHL (Sound Designer) begins his seventh season as MTWichita’s sound designer, having also served as the sound assistant previously for a season. During MTWichita’s off‐season, David is the audio producer for WSU’s College of Fine Arts where he oversees audio recording and live sound for fine arts and other performances. He also serves as sound designer for WSU’s Opera and Musical Theatre programs and is the sound advisor to student musical theatre & opera sound designers and engineers. Some of his favorite sound designs have been Children of Eden, Into the Woods, Les Misérables and Wizard of Oz. David has twice been sound designer for invited productions to the Region V Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. David has also done sound design for Wichita Center for the Arts and Cabaret Oldtown. Special thanks to Dave, Jeff and the rest of the crew of Clearwing Productions in Phoenix and Josh with Sound Kingdom and for their continued support of MTWichita.

ALENA SELLERS (Wig and Makeup Designer) is very excited to be returning for her second season as wig and makeup designer, having served as the assistant designer the previous year. She lives in Wichita and spends most of the year working at Allure Salon. She has been doing hair for fourteen years, has spent five years as an Aveda Color Educator, and is grateful for this opportunity to work with so many wonderful people. A special thanks to Sandy, Jocelyn and Anna for all your hard work this season.

LIZ SPRAY (Property Master) is in her fifth season at MTWichita and is excited to take on the role of Prop Master this year. She is a St. Louis native and has enjoyed working around the country. Most recently she has worked at Opera Theater St. Louis as an artisan for their production of Carmen. She also toured this past fall with the National Tour of The Wizard of Oz as the Prop Supervisor and Pyrotechnics Operator. Some of her favorite productions she has worked on include Deathtrap (Northern Stage), Oh! What a Lovely War (National WWI Museum), I Love a Piano (National Tour), Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables, Drowsy Chaperone (Music Theater of Wichita), Camelot, Dr. Faustus (Utah Shakespearian Festival).

JEFF TAYLOR (Production Manager) is extremely honored to be back with this excellent cast and crew for his 11th summer at MTWichita. Throughout the years since 2000, he’s had the chance to apprentice, build, design, and even act for MTWichita, and will now be the year round Production Manager, working closely with the awesome MTW staff. A loyal Kansan, Jeff graduated from East High and earned his BA in Musical Theatre from Friends University in 2006. In 2011, he earned an MFA in Design & Technology from UMKC. Jeff would like to thank the staff of MTWichita for their support and guidance, and thanks to his wonderful family for their love.

DEREK OLSON (Technical Director) is excited to be back with MTWichita where he started in 1999 as a floater between the prop shop, paint shop, electrics, sound, and the scene shop. He ended up floating his way permanently into the scene shop. Since then he has held the title of carpenter, master carpenter, technical director and car restoration specialist. He would like to thank his wife Jenny and his two beautiful children, Phillip and Evelyn.

DEBBIE ROBERTS (Costume Shop Manager) has designed costumes for many shows here, including Curtains, Les Misérables, White Christmas, Thoroughly Modern Millie, High School Musical, State Fair, Funny Girl, The Most Happy Fella, On the Town and West Side Story, plus special costumes for Aida, My Fair Lady (all of Eliza’s gowns), Annie Get Your Gun, Man of La Mancha, Crazy for You, The Sound of Music, My One and Only, and various Festival of Broadway shows. A graduate of Friends University, Debbie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Ballet. “I am so proud of the work that Music Theatre of Wichita does, it is always a pleasure to work each season. While California is home, work in the costume field takes me to New York each Christmas season to work for the World Famous Radio City Rockettes. It has been over 20 years that Wichita has been my summer home and I look forward to meeting new people and learning new skills each time. Enjoy the shows!”

EMILY F. McMULLEN (Production Stage Manager) is back for her 13th summer with MTWichita. Previous productions here include The Music Man, Sunset Boulevard, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Curtains, Gypsy, Crazy for You, The Drowsy Chaperone, The Producers, Les Misérables, Big River, …Forum, Seven Brides…, Sweet Charity, Phantom!, Seussical, A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Chicago, Good News!, and ShowBoat. Throughout the year, she is the Production Stage Manager at Merrimack Repertory Theatre outside of Boston. She has also stage managed for North Shore Music Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, South Coast Repertory, Capital Repertory Theater, Musical Theatre Guild, Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Broadway Texas, Theatre Emory, and The Shadowland Theatre. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

TIFFANY K. ORR (Stage Manager) is originally from Oklahoma. She currently lives in Minneapolis / Saint Paul where she is the production manger for Theater Latte Da. While in the twin cities, she has also stage managed for companies including the Pillsbury House Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, Theatre Latte Da, Park Square Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, The Director’s, and the Guthrie. Previously she has worked on more than a dozen productions as part of the stage management team at the Phoenix Theatre, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Women, You Can’t Take It With You, Smokey Joe’s Café and The Will Rogers Follies.

AMANDA BOWMAN (Assistant Stage Manager) is delighted to be returning for her 8th summer at MTWichita, and is very excited to graduate from WSU in December. During the year, she is stage manager for the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and is also a member of IATSE Local 190.

STEVE LANDES (Director of the Apprentice Program / Shopper-Buyer) is proud to return for his eighteenth summer as the Apprentice Program Director. A Wichita resident for twenty two years, Steve worked for Friends University, the Wichita Center for the Arts, and Shakespeare in the Park. Steve moved to the Kansas City area eight years ago for a teaching position. As an educator, Steve continues to be very excited about working with the apprentices in this unique training program (and MTW is deeply grateful for Steve’s creative dedication to our young people!).

JENNIFER FISHER (Signing Interpreter) I’m thrilled and honored to be back for my fourth season at MTWichita. Interpreting music theatre is my dream job and I can’t thank Wayne and his staff enough for letting me return. Music is my passion and bringing that form of entertainment to the Deaf Community has been very rewarding. I keep busy with my two wonderful girls, Kara and Stephanie, and lead the Deaf Ministry at Central Community Church. Sporadically I interpret other theatrical productions in Wichita such as Wicked (2009) and Music Theatre for Young People’s production of No Small Feat (2011). My other interpreting passion (besides MTWichita), is concerts. I’ve worked with: Castin Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Jeremy Camp, and Clay Aiken. I would like to thank my husband for his support and most importantly God for the blessings He’s given me and the opportunity to work in such an amazing place.


A History of the Musical


SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
A History of the Musical by Wayne Bryan


MGM Film released in April, 1952
Produced by Arthur Freed
Directed and Choreographed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen
Written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Musical Director Lennie Hayton
Orchestrations by Conrad Salinger, Wally Heglin and Skip Martin
Vocal Arrangements by Jeff Alexander
Art Directors Cedric Gibbons and Randall Duell
Running Time: 103 minutes
Cast: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor,
Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse
London Stage Production: Opened June 30,1983 at London Palladium, ran for 894 performances; Directed by Tommy Steele; Choreographed by Peter Gennaro;
Cast included Tommy Steele, Roy Castle, Sarah Payne, Danielle Carson
Broadway Production: Opened July 2,1985 at the Gershwin Theatre, ran for 367 performances; Directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp;
Cast included Don Correia, Mary D’Arcy, Peter Slutsker, Faye Grant
(Best sung, most complete recording is 1996 JAY Records studio cast CD, based on MTWichita production, conducted by Craig Barna and starring several MTWichita alumni)

Betty Comden (1917-2006) and Adolph Green (1914-2002) became the longest running team in show business, with a colorful writing partnership that included Broadway, Hollywood, and nightclubs. Both were born in New York City, attended New York University together, joined the Washington Square Players together, and formed a nightclub act called The Revuers in the late 1930s. Because they couldn’t afford to pay royalties for the songs they were singing, they decided to try writing their own material, and the happy partnership lasted for six decades. Their 1991 show, The Will Rogers Follies, won the team their 7th Tony Award, and they received the Kennedy Center Honors that same year.

Their good fortune began in 1944, when young composer Leonard Bernstein approached Comden and Green to collaborate with him on a Broadway musical called On The Town, and the success of that show led to a screenwriting contract for Comden and Green at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

The late 1940s and early 1950s were the “golden era” for the original screen musical, and MGM was the premiere studio for such films. Comden and Green’s hit films at Metro included Good News, The Barkleys of Broadway, and The Band Wagon.

When the studio found tremendous success with the Gene Kelly film An American in Paris, which wove a new story around a catalog of Gershwin songs, producer Arthur Freed assigned Comden and Green to another such project.

In the early days of the “talkies,” Freed had been a studio songwriter, creating a large collection of popular songs. Freed now charged the writing duo to come up with a story based on his song “Singin’ in the Rain,” hopefully to incorporate as many Freed tunes as possible, while creating another great starring role for Gene Kelly.

After some false starts, the authors brilliantly decided to set the movie during the traumatic moments of 1927 when the Silent Era in morion pictures was abruptly shattered by the success of The Jazz Singer, the first “talking” motion picture.

Suddenly all the studios were forced to convert to sound, and the results were often hilarious, but sometimes tragic. Beloved stars of the silent films lost their popularity overnight if their first “talking” appearances betrayed weak voices, speech impediments, or thick foreign accents, none of which had been hindrances in the Silent Era.

Also, the question arose as to where to place the early microphones. Some of the solutions, as accurately depicted in this show, were quite funny.

The movie Singin’ in the Rain was an instant hit with 1952 audiences, and film critics around the world have consistently included it on their lists of the “Ten Best Films” of all time.

It was inevitable that the show would finally make its way onto the stage, and it debuted in London in 1983. Critics were not impressed with the stage treatment, but loyal audiences made it the longest running show in the history of the London Palladium.

A much less successful Broadway version followed, guided (or “mis-guided,” some said) by modern dance choreographer Twyla Tharp, who had never before directed a musical. A more successful National Tour followed, in a version that started getting closer to the feel and style of the original film, although Act II still had no big musical sequence.

In 1992 the creative staff at Music Theatre of Wichita (director James Rocco, choreographers Linda Goodrich and James Rocco, musical director Craig Barna, and producer Wayne Bryan) adapted the touring script to develop an edition of the show that very nearly brought the whole film onstage, including an imaginative and elaborate evocation of Gene Kelly’s and Stanley Donen’s memorable “Broadway Ballet.”

After a sold-out run in Wichita, this version was subsequently seen at several fine regional theatres, including the Paper Mill Playhouse, where the New York Times gave it a rave review and where authors Comden and Green enthusiastically endorsed it. The MTWichita team of creators (in various combinations) have since shepherded  the show on national tours, in international productions (as far away as Tokyo), and onto a beautifully recorded cast album.

For our 2012 season, and in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the original film, MTWichita is delighted to have director-choreographer Linda Goodrich creating a brand new production, combining terrific performers with onstage rain, amusing new film sequences, and a talented company of comedians, singers, dancers and musicians, to bring this show once more to life.

Filled with love and respect for the original film, we offer this live version of an unforgettable screen masterpiece as our tribute to the MGM geniuses who originally conceived and performed it.

 

About the Songs in Singin’ in the Rain

Most of the songs in this show were written by Arthur Freed (lyrics) and Nacio Herb Brown (music) for musical films in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Two songs (“Moses Supposes” and “Make ‘Em Laugh”) were written specifically for the film Singin’ in the Rain, and two songs (“You Stepped Out Of A Dream” and “What’s Wrong With Me?”) were added to the stage version of Singin’ in the Rain. Songs and their origins are listed below, and all are by Freed and Brown, unless otherwise noted.

Act I

“Fit As A Fiddle” – (1932) music by Al Hoffman and Al Goodhart
“Temptation” – (Going Hollywood, 1933)
“All I Do Is Dream Of You” – (Sadie McKee, 1934)
“You Stepped Out Of A Dream” – (Ziegfeld Girl, 1941) lyrics by Gus Kahn
“Make ‘Em Laugh” – (Singin’ in the Rain, 1952)
“Beautiful Girl” – (Going Hollywood, 1933)
“You Are My Lucky Star” – (Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935)
“You Were Meant For Me” – (Broadway Melody, 1929)
“Moses Supposes” – (Singin’ in the Rain, 1952) music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Comden and Green
“Good Morning” – (Babes in Arms, 1939)
“Singin’ in the Rain” – (Hollywood Revue, 1929)

Act II

“Would You?” – (San Francisco, 1936)
“What’s Wrong With Me?” – (The Kissing Bandit, 1948) lyrics by Earl Brent, Edward Hyman
“The Broadway Melody” – (Broadway Melody, 1929)
“Broadway Rhythm” – (Broadway Melody of 1936, 1935)