Midlothian High School theatre will transport viewers back to the 1920s when films began their transition from silence to “talkies,” during their production of Singin’ in the Rain.
The production takes place this Thursday—Saturday, Feb. 8 – 11.
In 1927 Hollywood, Monumental Pictures’ knows they have to jump on the talking picture bandwagon push their biggest stars Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood to do their first talkie. During the production, a variety of issues ensue, like Lamont’s voice not being up to par for a talking film. The crew decided to dub-over her voice using a young actress named Kathy Selden, but tensions flare and the truth soon comes out.
Will the movie fall apart, or will Selden and Lamont keep their secret behind the curtain?
Recreating such an iconic musical hasn’t come without challenges, director Angee Hallmark said. Not only does the play require the cast to learn to tap dance, but the nearly 20 scene changes have kept the department and their booster club busy with construction.
“The most challenging thing has been all the details,” Hallmark said. “There are almost 20 different scenes in this play that happen in different locations. So the choreography on stage and backstage has been a challenge.”
Hallmark said almost the students and the booster club — who spent nearly 23 hours painting and constructing — built all of the set pieces. The most challenging and dazzling aspect is Hallmark’s aspiration to have it rain on the cast while they perform the iconic street dance, and then getting the water back off the stage for the rest of the show. When reporting on this piece, Hallmark was confident she would have a device built in time to do just that, but only time will tell if they were successful.
“The tap dancing for the songs is very challenging, but we’ve got it down,” said Luke Craddock, who plays R.F, Simpson.
“They love it, they want to tap now all the time,” Hallmark added. “I think we will have to pick a tapping musical next year too.”
Another challenge the production had is repairing two speakers that were knocked out by the storm—but Hallmark said the school district came through and rented speakers so that the cast can be heard by the audience.
The cast has been working on the production since October working in class and after school to get everything down.
“We want to do the movie justice, but add our own flair,” said Ashlee Blanton, who plays Lina Lamont.
Kaylin Culmer, who plays the assistant, said, for her, the best part about being in the production is inspiring others to try theater.
“After the show, all of the kids come up to us and they seem inspired,” Culmer said. “I have stage fright, but you show them it’s fun to be up there and have big dreams.”
The play opens Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the MHS Auditorium and will continue through Saturday at the same time with Sunday’s performance taking place at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or online at https://search.seatyourself.biz/webstore/accounts/mhs/buy-tickets?d=1.