Ziegfeld Theater Company to make a splash in Park City with ‘Singin’ in the Rain’
Ziegfeld Theater Company: “Singin’ in the Rain”
Friday-Sunday, May 24-26, and Thursday through Sunday, May 30-June 2
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays
Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Thursday tickets range from $23-$35. Tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances are $29-$45.
Joshua Robinson envisioned his version of the Ziegfeld Theater Company’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” which opens Friday in Park City, to be a comforting night of entertainment.
The director wanted audiences to feel the warmth and love they experience when they visit family.
“There are a lot of people who have a connection to the musical because many people saw the film when they were children,” he said. “So, I wanted to make this into a delicious and comfortable slice of pie for them.”
Ziegfeld Theater Company’s “Singin’ in the Rain” will run for two weekends — Friday, May 24, to Sunday, May 26, and Thursday, May 30, to Sunday, June 2, at the Egyptian Theatre.
The musical, based on the Oscar-nominated 1952 film, , starring Gene Kelly, takes place in 1927, and focuses on four film actors — Don, Cosmo, Kathy and Lina — as they try to adjust to the shift from silent to sound films.
Robinson said he took cues from the film’s characters to fulfill his feel-good vision of the live production.
“Some of the things I love about the movie, besides the cast having these incredible dancing and singing abilities, was that these characters are very heartfelt and warm people,” he said. “These are people you want to be around and be with.”
Robinson found his cast in Colton Ward as Don, Heather Luke as Cosmo, Kali Kocherans as Kathy and Becka Stevens as Lina.
One of the major changes in the Ziegfeld production from the film is Cosmo, who was performed by renowned character actor Donald O’Connor, is now being portrayed by a woman.
“We even had some other funny roles for Heather to read, one of the producers suggested we see her for Cosmo,” he said “When she read, we saw she was exactly what the role needed.”
Casting Luke as Cosmo changed the dynamic of Don and Cosmo’s friendship.
“It became more of a brother-sister relationship,” Robinson said. “Plus, it brought in a strong female role where she is solid in her own right.”
In addition, Robinson said Luke is an excellent tap dancer.
“The more tapping she gets to do, the better the role will be,” he said.
Before Ward was cast as Don, he read for a couple of other roles, Robinson said.
“As I heard him read, I felt this boy-next-door quality that made us want to watch him,” Robinson said. “In real life, Colton has a natural, sweet tenderness to him. So the more dated dialogue in the show seems to be more jovial, off the cuff and funny when he delivered the lines.”
Ward also read well with the other candidates who were vying for the role of Kathy, according to Robinson.
“It was easy for him to read with all the women, so casting Kathy was the next step forward for us,” he said. “We had to find someone who could really land that role.”
Kocherans was that actor, Robinson said.
“It was the chemistry with Colton that landed her the role, but she also brought something real and grounded,” he said. “Kali has this cool and natural way of saying things, which made her very believable.”
Kathy is Kocherans’ first leading role, which surprised Robinson.
“She’s funny and really lives as Kathy there on the stage,” he said.
While casting Lina, Robinson immediately liked Stevens.
“She was the first woman who I had read for Lina, and when she came to auditions, she told me she was doing the voice to annoy her mom,” he said with a laugh. “She had first seen the movie as a little girl and liked the accent. And she came in and stuck the landing, and, like a wedding dress, fit her perfectly.”
While the cast came together naturally and rather quickly, Robinson faced the challenge of bringing the production to the stage.
“In a movie, you can change the scene in a snap,” he said. “So we had to find a way to blend the scenes together in a natural flow that fit in the context of a live musical.”
The problem was solved by using flats; painted scenery fastened to cabled bars that can be raised and dropped like curtains, Robinson said.
“We are able to fly these flats in and out quickly and efficiently, without overshadowing the action on the stage,” he said.
Robinson said “Singin’ in the Rain” is one of his favorite musicals, and there are some scenes that make him “giddy.”
One of those moments comes during “Moses Supposes,” a tongue-twisting number between Don and Cosmo, he said.
Another is the “Broadway” medley.
“The medley is not 17 minutes like in the movie, but it’s a solid seven minutes of enjoyable tapping,” Robinson said. “Of course, the performance of the song ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ at the end of Act I is such a comforting way to end the act. I always get a little teary then, but that’s just me.”
Robinson said he looks forward to presenting “Singin’ in the Rain” in Park City.
“It has been nice to do this show, because I was able to tell a simple story,” he said. “It was a way for me to provide a good night of entertainment, which is what I feel I need right now.”