"Singin' in the Rain" comes to SIU's McLeod Theater

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couple under umbrella

The live on-stage adaptation of the movie musical, “Singin’ in the Rain” will dance its way onto Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s McLeod Theater stage, July 27-30.

With iconic songs etched into memory, movie lovers know the film starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. This stage version, direct from the screenplay, has all the great songs embedded in the story, including “You are My Lucky Star,” “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “Good Morning” and the irrepressible “Singin’ in the Rain.”

The production, the All-Southern Illinois High School Theater Project (ASHSTP), produced by McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) and Carbondale Community Arts, closes the 2017 summer playhouse season. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the ASHTP combines 26 of the area’s brightest and most talented young performers with a professional staff for a unique experience.

The story of the 1952 film is well known. With a transition to talking pictures, a silent-flicker favorite actress with a grating voice finds her career threatened. To help, the studio falsely publicizes an engagement to her leading man and hires an unknown actress to dub her voice. All is well until the leading man discovers himself falling in love with the voice double. Torn, the head-over-heels movie star must choose between his heart and a successful career.

Brax Melvin is leading man Don Lockwood, the part played by Gene Kelly in the film. The Frankfort Community High School graduate has appeared in productions across the region, including MSP, ASHSTP and last summer’s Muny Opera in St. Louis. Keagan Schlosser plays his love interest, Kathy Selden, the actress hired for her voice. MSP audiences will remember her show-stopping jump-rope number as Brooke in “Legally Blonde.” Garrett James, another area theater-veteran, takes up the role of funny man Cosmo Brown, friend and confidante to the love-stricken Lockwood. Anna Madura, a student at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School, portrays Lina Lamont, the star with a squeaky voice.

Bursting with talent and filling the roles of talkie-era Hollywood personalities are area high-school students Reed Absher, Savannah Bain, Chad Beatty, Marshall Bernhard, Sam Blankenship, Alexa Boese, Hasanah Brown, Aaron Elliott, Charli Elliot, Graham Gordon, Allison Grace, Emily Jabr, Kelsey Jurich, Illyana Lipe, Elijah Odle, Rebecca Peach, Kaylin Penninger, Aliegha Ramos, Hannah Sullivan, Amina Wilson and Joshua Windings.

“Singin’ in the Rain” is directed and choreographed by Wes Drummond, associate artistic director. Drummond has been with the playhouse for many years and has directed productions including “Anything Goes,” “Legally Blonde” and “Oklahoma.”

Professional staff includes Kevin A. Smith, musical director, and Jenna Mee Dosch associate musical director. Sets are designed by M.K. Hughes, with costumes by Jen Gillette, lighting by Will Coeur and sound by Brandyn McGhee. Projected silent-film movie segments are created by Mark Young.

This “Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance” musical salute to love and Hollywood performs at 7:30 p.m., July 27-29, and at 2 p.m., July 30 in McLeod Theater, located in the Communications Building at SIU Carbondale. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and $8 for children. Tickets are available from noon to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday at the McLeod Theater or SIU Arena box offices or by phone at 618/453-6000. Tickets are also available online at playhouse.siu.edu. The theater box office will also be open one hour before each performance, but audiences are encouraged to get their tickets early as these performances often sell-out.

Singin in the Rain solo dance number

Singin in the Rain pair under umbrella