Singin' in the Rain | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Singin' in the Rain 

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The 1952 MGM movie musical starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor had too much energy for two dimensions--hence this 1985 stage version. A tribute to American pluck and resourcefulness, the original saluted the advent of the talkies and the colossal egos of Hollywood's golden age, represented here by Monumental Pictures. The show teems with infectious tunes by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, perfect numbers like "You Are My Lucky Star" and "You Were Meant for Me." Marc Robin's joy-crammed revival, successfully transplanted from its Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park origins in June and closing in two weeks, delivers some spectacular dancing: Broadway strutting in the awesome "Gotta Dance" ballet, tumultuous tapping in "Good Morning," and splash-happy hoofing in the title song, performed by Curt Dale Clark with cheerful indifference to slicker-clad audience members in the first three rows. (Trust me, you can get splashed in the fourth row too.) Some of Chicago's savviest song and dance stars--Clark, Dale Benson, Paula Scrofano, Christine Sherrill, Linda Parsons--re-create the high spirits of Robin's irrepressible romp. New to the role of Cosmo Brown is New York actor Alex Sanchez, a ball of fire who makes Cosmo's clowning another form of Hollywood hunger. With its protruding pillars, the current stage is a tad constricting. But the dance numbers, freed from Drury Lane's in-the-round space, can now wow everyone at once. Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, 777 N. Green, 312-327-2000. Through September 7: Wednesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 PM; Fridays, 8 PM; Saturdays, 2 and 8 PM; Sundays, 2 PM. $20-$55; dinner-show packages available.

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