The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera never seems to miss. Whether they’re staging some of the biggest musical numbers like Les Miserables or Miss Saigon, or showing more intimate but no less dazzling fare such as Forever Plaid or A Grand Night For Singing, the CLO always delivers with exceptional confidence and flair. Last night’s production of Singin’ in the Rain was no different.
First, you had the gorgeous work of Scenic Designer Michael Anania, which was lit perfectly by Lighting Designer Andrew David Ostrowski. From the backstage of a theater to the sound studio to the lot of a major motion picture company to the iconic street with the black lamp light where a certain character dances in the rain, it was all showcased brilliantly. The cast really made use of the stage. It felt wonderfully all-encompassing. You imagined the scenery just went on and on.
In fact, you sort of wanted the show to go on and on. It was a delightful breath of fresh air. There was great music like Good Mornin’ and You Are My Luky Star (which was sung just beautifully by Mary Michael Patterson. There was great dancing, such as Cosmo’s (played with gusto and sharp charm by Cary Tedder) Make ‘Em Laugh number, where he executes that famous flip off the wall; the haunting Broadway Ballet, which showcases the lean lines and fierce talent of Kristine Bendul’s Olga, and of course, Don’s title number, in which he splashes, slides, shuffles and spins in the rain. There was also great, great, let me emphasize, great humor – the biggest laughs going to Ashley Spencer as vain, high-pitched voice Lina Lamont. Her voice lesson scene was especially great. Another fabulous moment was with Spencer and David Elder as Don Lockwood, when they screened their newest talking movie, The Dueling Cavalier, for a small audience. How hysterical, and much credit to the crew for making that happen so perfectly. That scene was worth the price of admission alone.
Actually, that’s not true. Every scene was worth the price of admission, and that’s not hyperbole. There’s a reason that Singin’ in the Rain is listed higher than West Side Story, Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz on the American Film Institute’s list of Greatest Movie Musicals. This show is one of the most evenly produced shows I’ve ever seen, and by that, I mean that there was no lag time. The pacing was excellent, the character development great, the balance of musical numbers to non-musical numbers was perfect and the laughter came full and plenty. Some stories can feel a tad under-cooked. But with Director and Choreographer Linda Goodrich overseeing the show, it was absolute perfection.
For tickets and more info, go here.