What: Singin’ in the Rain
When: April 28-30
Where: MY Millennium Place
Don’t know anything about musicals?
Even if titles such as Into the Woods or the Three Penny Opera escape you, everyone knows the title song to Singin’ in the Rain, made famous by the fancy footwork of Gene Kelly who swung around lamp posts and splashed through puddles to make one of the most famous movie musical sequences to date.
And even if singing and dancing isn’t your thing, you may have heard the song mocking the rape scene in A Clockwork Orange , or perhaps in Shanghai Knights where the music accompanies a Jackie Chan fight scene with an umbrella as the weapon of choice.
The world just can’t get enough of its spread-your-sunshine optimism. Well here is your chance to put this fun little ditty into context with Whistler Secondary Drama Club’s production of Singin’ in the Rain Friday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30 at MY Millennium Place.
The musical satirizes the panic surrounding the movement from silent to talkie films. Like the more modern Video Killed the Radio Star, talky films killed silver screen actresses who were beautiful to look at in silent films, but not necessarily so beautiful to listen to. The humour and horror of what to do when a silent film leading lady’s voice doesn’t measure up to her looks plays out in this comical "song and dance," both literally and metaphorically speaking.
In the spirit of Singin’ in the Rain, a musical originally written and produced for screen rather than stage, the drama club production will include a series of student-produced films screened throughout the play, stepping up the technical production of this year’s show.
Students are at the helm of the Broadway show. Grade 12 students Sandi Barrett directed, Chelsea MacDonald and Mia Daniels choreographed and Stephen Lee was the director of film and photography for the film segments.
"It gives the students ownership of the show," said Heather Paul of Short Skirt Theatre Company, one of half a dozen adults offering support to students. "It is them who make it all happen."
And while students are working harder than ever, the team said the experience is extremely rewarding, and the cast and crew are tighter than ever.
"Everyone works so well together: bouncing ideas off of each other," Barrett said. "It’s sometimes difficult – trying to find the balance between directing and being a fellow peer, but you still need to be in control and make things happen… You really become a family – all of us working towards one goal."
Janet Hamer, co-producer and musical master for the production, along with fellow choir guru Alison Hunter, emphasized the importance of how the program builds school community.
"It gives the opportunity for all grades to get together," she said of the Grade 8-12 student-run production. "There really isn’t that kind of opportunity for younger grades to work on a project with older ones."
The showstopper for the night will be the six-minute Broadway Melody segment piling the 30-plus cast members onto one stage.
This beloved MGM treasure was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and won an Academy Award for Best Music. Figure out for yourself why this musical is such a national treasure and support Whistler’s actors and directors of tomorrow.
Curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.