Hi everyone! So today I’m reviewing a local production of the musical Singin’ in the Rain! I did previously do a movie vs stage comparison of this musical as I had seen both. This version is a children’s theatre group which performed the show.
The group is the Christian Youth Theater, or CYT. I did look them up online and they do shows around the Chicago and Milwaukee area. I found this one through an Instagram story of a local area and saw it last weekend!
So since it is a children’s theater group, the show was very watered down. The ages ranged from around 5-18 so it was a lot of children everywhere. I believe they were all grouped by age and certain ages got different sections of the show to learn, with a few from each getting to perform small roles throughout. The leads were all played by the older kids, 17 or 18 year olds judging from the information on the playbill.
Many scenes were shortened, particularly musical numbers. Most of the dialogue that was cut was a lot of the fighting or more catty lines such as the ones when Don and Lina were arguing about Cathy’s firing during the filming of “The Dueling Cavalier”. Or a lot of Lina’s threatening parts towards the end were cut as well. I suppose it was part to keep everything at a reasonable length for children (both performers and siblings of performers) but also to keep it more civil for the youngest members.
All musical numbers, as I said, were shortened and changed drastically too. I imagine it’s because, well, it’s kids! They aren’t training hours every day for the show and don’t have the stamina for the full show. I would say the songs were easily halved, and the choreography was incredibly different. For example, “Make ’em Laugh” the actor was hilarious but the song was over very quickly. And “Good Mornin'” also had a shortened sequence (also the couch flip was not the smoothest).
Songs like “Moses Supposes” and “Singin’ in the Rain” were both full length I believe but a large portion of the cast came out to perform. These both were very well done overall, and it seemed that the strongest tap dancers of each age group were picked for this one (as ballet dancers had been picked for “Beautiful Girl”). However it also served to distract from details. For instance in “Singin’ in the Rain” the already slippery floor became wet when the water fell out of the designated area and a dancer fell. But she was blocked by the front row so I didn’t notice until she was already getting up. In “Moses Supposes” the tap dancers were organized into about five rows and the back rows were really moving around chairs for everyone else, but the dancers in the front were the ones everyone was watching.
Oh! I should mention, there was a water stage! It was a little elevated platform that seemed to collect the water, although quite a bit did splash out as I mentioned. I could tell there would be water as there were tarps of sorts on the floor already and they did bring out the water stage and had it ready for Don. During intermission the crew had to get it all dry and ready for the second act.
Overall the actors were great. The actor for Kathy was so good although I thought was was overacting at first. As the performance went on it became more natural and she was a great singer. She also slipped during the couch flip but recovered phenomenally, and it was easy to forget! The actor for Cosmo was hilarious and fit the role perfectly. Unfortunately his mic didn’t seem to be working properly or maybe wasn’t placed right so his singing wasn’t always easy to hear and was very faint. The actor for Don was a great actor and dancer, but not a very strong singer. Some of it could be attributed to a higher pitch but the “Singin’ in the Rain” number wasn’t as strong as it should have been for being the song that closed out the first half of the show as well as the titular song.
For the closing song and bows the entire cast came on stage and it was apparent that the cast was quite diverse, not just in age, but also in other ways such as race or the inclusion of those with genetic or other disorders. It was a great cast and crew overall and I was very impressed with how good it was for youth theatre.
So that’s my review of the musical! Let me know if you frequent local theatre productions and what you’ve generally thought of them.
Thanks for reading!
Follow me on social media!