Singing in the oppressive humidity just doesn’t seem very appealing. But ever since Gene Kelly made it famous in a 1952 movie, singing in the rain has been a temptation for many.

A splashy production of the stage version of “Singin’ in the Rain” has opened at the Maine State Music Theatre. To cut to the big question: Yes, it rains onstage during the performance of the title tune.

With book by the legendary Betty Comden/Adolph Green partnership and memorable music by the equally inspired Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown team, this show has all the elements to make for a success. Maine State Music Theatre has put it all together with tremendous style and energy to produce a good, old-fashioned theatrical wonder.

Director/choreographer Marc Robin has taken full advantage of the human and other resources at his disposal to bring forward a production that comes on strong in all the right ways. Romance, comedy, lively singing and dancing, first-rate musical accompaniment, colorful costumes, engrossing special effects and eye-catching backstage and studio sets contribute to a highly-immersive and entertaining show that should rank with the best the venerable theater has mounted.

The story concerns old-Hollywood types caught up in the transition from silent films to “talkies” in the late 1920s. Don Lockwood (Nicolas Dromard) has no problem adding some verbal swagger to his swashbuckling roles. But his regular on-screen paramour, Lina Lamont (Kim Sava), has a voice like the sound of nails on a chalkboard. While the studio executives try to figure out what to do, Don falls for aspiring actress Kathy Seldin (Kate Fahrner), who sings and dances like an angel. Will their love survive the petulant Lina and the bottom-line focus of the studio?

Numbers like “All I Do Is Dream of You,” “Lucky Star” and “Would You” give Fahrner a chance to reveal her character’s emerging star power by suggesting an always potent combination of vulnerability and drive. Her most effective vocal work comes in her warm middle range.


Dromard’s Don evolves from superstar arrogance to smitten romantic through such classic songs as “You Stepped Out of a Dream” and “You Were Meant for Me.” His tenor voice is strong and dance steps sturdy. Dromard has some obvious fun making sure that he’s not the only one getting wet during the title tune.

Comic relief is added by Brian Shepard as Don’s musician sidekick, Cosmo. His “Make ‘Em Laugh” does just that as he works through a range of classic pratfalls. “Good Mornin’ ” has him tapping up to a special sunrise with Dromard and Fahrner.

Maine State favorite Charis Leos gains chuckles as a gossip columnist and full-out laughs as a carried-away voice instructor. Buddy Reeder also gets laughs as he tries to keep up with Don and Cosmo, who are in full wise-guy mode during “Moses Supposes.”

A full ensemble gives broad expression to the show’s dance varieties – from tap to ballroom to jazz to ballet, especially in the multi-part “Broadway Melody” during the second act.

Projected mock silent films add another layer of fun to a production that brings a classic show into glorious bloom once again.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

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