Cats Mainstage performs the hit musical Singin’ In the Rain at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto from December 15 to 18, 2011.
When I heard this production would be playing, my first worries were could this play be pulled off by such a young cast? And could they fake rain inside the theatre?
Cats Mainstage pulled this musical off with great gusto on Thursday’s opening night. The music was beautiful, the actors were a delight, and there was real rain onstage!
Singin’ In The Rain is a classic and although it’s tough for us older folk to imagine a 15-year-old David Klein filling the shoes of Gene Kelly, he does an admirable job. He’s a strong singer and has great poise when he moves around onstage. I want to know how he danced so well in the rain without slipping!
Charlotte Miller played the squeaky-voiced, self-absorbed silent film star Lina Lamont, but it was hard to hate her because of the charm, and playfulness she put into the role. Her “What’s Wrong With Me” was super spunky and fun.
Sara Davis plays Kathy Seldon, the girl who dubs over Lina Lamont’s chipmunk voice. She is a wonderful singer and suits the bubbly innocence of her character. Her version of “You Are My Lucky Star” showcased excellent vulnerability and she seems to always add chemistry with whoever else is onstage with her.
I was most impressed by how funny all the actors were. Lizzie Moffatt as Dora Bayley, Tommy Amoroso as Roscoe Dexter, and Paul Ashkenas as Cosmo Brown really shined in their comic roles. Moffatt, who played a movie premiere commentator of sorts, took a page right of Joan Rivers’ book. Amoroso played the sarcastic director with wit and depth – his facial expressions in reaction to Lina Lamott’s character were just to die for.
Ashkenas was hilarious and adorable in his solo “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and again in “Moses Supposes” alongside David Klein and Mateo Lewis – they make a great trio. His physical comedy really did make me smile and laugh. Mateo Lewis played the diction coach, and his acting was just spot-on – a very good diction coach indeed! I remember him from Urinetown and even in the short period of time between these two plays, I can see him growing older and getting even better.
I was surprised to see so many in the cast, in addition to their vocal abilities, were able to also tap dance. This was a fun sight to see as tap dancing isn’t really featured in a lot of contemporary theatre – or at least, the type of theatre I have grown accustomed to seeing these days.
The costumes are definitely one of the highlights of Cats Mainstage plays for me. They are so beautiful and detailed – well-tailored to each actor and really matching their roles. I loved the flapper girl costumes, the sailor suits, and the pink dancer costumes. They really differentiate the characters well and add a richness to the entire production. My theatre companion enjoyed watching the play and noted that the cast was young, but when they donned their costumes they looked like they were about ten years older!
One of the scenes that stood out to me the most was when a singer dressed in a white tuxedo, played by Reeve Kako, starts to sing “Beautiful Girl” with a bevy of flapper girls surrounding him. He was an excellent singer as well, and I was sad I didn’t get to hear more of him. This scene was very visually stunning and classic.
Compared to their Urinetown show, I think this show showcased more of a range of talents – singing, tap, dance and comedy – whereas Urinetown focused more on singing. The shows have different appeal but are both wonderful to watch. I really love hearing them sing as one big ensemble. I noticed a lady behind me was dabbing her eyes at the final scene – their voices all melded together into one, it is just really something beautiful.
You should definitely watch this show if you have time this week. Every actor in this cast, from the Tourists to the Assistant Directors, are amazingly talented and bring something unique to the table. There’s no doubt in my mind that the members of this production will be a vital part of the Toronto theatre community for years to come.
- Singin’ In The Rain is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.) through December 18, 2011
- Shows run Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 pm with additional matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 pm
- Tickets are $30 for general admission and $15 for students with valid ID.
- Tickets are available by phone at 416-504-7529, in person at the box office or online at http://www.catsmainstage.com/tickets/.
Photo taken by Stephen Freedman.