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Churchill Production Keeps Us ‘Singin’'

Cappies — High School Theater Review

When walking down the street on a cold, dreary rainy day, what’s the first thing you think to do to make that day a little less dreary? You sing. In Winston Churchill High School’s recent production of “Singin’ in the Rain,” they showed us that even though our day may be rainy, it doesn’t have to be dreary.

“Singin’ in the Rain” was originally a movie made in 1952, co-directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, who also starred in it with Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds. When Singin’ in the Rain was adapted from the movie to make a stage production in 1985, it was not received nearly as well as the film. Winston Churchill has taken the stage adaptation and turned it into

quite a show.

Ben Hoffman played the role of Don Lockwood, a charming young movie star who had made it big performing in silent movies. Hoffman’s vocals and ability to create a smooth vibrato shone throughout the production. Not only did Hoffman have amazing vocals, but his connection with the audience during various dance numbers was phenomenal.

Opposite Hoffman was Talia Gottlieb, who played the very beautiful and very talented Kathy Seldon, a rising actress with a voice like butter. During solo numbers, such as "You Are My Lucky Star," her diction and clarity made for a very enjoyable experience.

Don Lockwood’s best buddy, and no doubt the comic relief of the show, was Cosmo Brown, played by Michael Butvinik, whose charisma carried the show to a different level. His comedic timing and ability to make any line funny gave the show that extra something.

Other roles, such as Lina Lamont and Roscoe Dexter only made the show more colorful. Lina Lamont, played by Sarah Anne Sillers, was a demanding and needy actress with a speaking voice so shrill it could almost shatter glass. Her role as the antagonist made the show that much better. Roscoe Dexter, the “genius” director of the next Don and Lina production — “The Dancing Cavalier,” was played by Chloe Richard. Her extremely convincing portrayal of a male

character added an intriguing extra element to the show.

Ensemble numbers like "Broadway Melody" and the “Singin’ in the Rain” reprise boosted the energy of the show.  Even with the occasional misstep, the ensemble numbers were well executed overall.

The Winston Churchill Pit Orchestra was exceptional, supported vocalists very well, helping them make a few speedy recoveries.

The set, designed by Marc Fisher, while basic and devoid of much color, was very functional and imaginative. The actual incorporation of rain into the show was quite a feat of engineering. Fisher’s clever design of rolling out a platform built into the set to catch the water was creative and saved the stage from warping with possible water damage.

Winston Churchill’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain” was performed with pizzazz and gave a bright outlook on life. So, even when it’s cold and rainy outside, you can still make the best out of a rainy day. Just do what the Winston Churchill's production did, and sing!

Katie Carroll, a student at West Springfield High School (Va.), is one of more than 350 student critics who participate in the Cappies, a program through which local high-school students review theater productions at other area schools.