Singin’ in the Rain, being staged next month in Strathclair, has all the makings of a Hollywood tabloid headline: the starlet, the leading man and a love affair that could change lives and make or break careers.
The stage musical has been adapted from the original award-winning screenplay of the same name by Broadway legends Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Don Lockwood, played by Brady Chyzyk of Virden, is a silent film star with humble roots as a musician and dancer. Don barely tolerates his vapid leading lady, Lina Lamont, played by Beccy Ardiel-Voth.
But Lamont is convinced that their screen romance is real.
The first talking picture, The Jazz Singer, proves to be a smash hit. The head of the studio, R. F. Simpson (played by James Comrie), decides he has no choice but to convert the new Lockwood and Lamont film, The Dueling Cavalier, into a talkie.
The production is beset with difficulties, by far the worst being Lina's comically grating voice.
After a disastrous test screening, Don's best friend Cosmo Brown, played by Eric Menzies, comes up with a solution. They’ll overdub Lina's voice. They convince Simpson to turn The Dueling Cavalier into The Dancing Cavalier, a musical comedy film.
Meanwhile, Don falls in love with an aspiring actress, Kathy Selden, played by Eva Stevenson. Selden has been chosen to provide the voice for Lina. When Lina finds out, she is furious and does everything possible to sabotage the romance.
She maliciously demands that Kathy continue to provide her voice in all future films without getting credit. An irate but desperate Simpson is forced to agree; Kathy has no choice because she is under contract.
Lina is upstaged
The premiere is a tremendous success. When the audience clamors for Lina to sing live, Don and Cosmo improvise and get Lina to lip-synch while Kathy sings into a second microphone while hidden behind the curtain.
As Lina starts "singing", Don, Cosmo and Simpson gleefully raise the curtain behind her, revealing the deception. Kathy becomes a star, and Lina is finished.
The musical comes to the Bend Theatre in Strathclair April 16 to 21, 2018.