With a popular and classic musical such as “Singin’ in the Rain”, I find that audience members tend to have more of a high expectation. Especially in a smaller venue, you can’t help but wonder how the set, costumes, light/sound design, and most importantly, the rain will all tie together to make a production of this show work out. Heritage Theatre in Perry, Utah has done a spectacular job of meeting and even exceeding these expectations. From the moment the lights first came up in the first scene, the set, light design, costumes, and of course actors did not disappoint!
With the wonderful design aspect of the show, another standout feature was the actors, and I can happily say that each and every actor in this production really committed to everything they put on that stage. That very first word that escaped Lina Lamont's lips (Sheri Riser) was absolute perfection. The energy she put into each word as well as each movement she made was true, and I loved every second of it. A fan favorite of course throughout the show was Cosmo Brown (David Atkinson). With each entrancing step he made during the hit song "Make 'Em Laugh", he had the audience rolling with laughter and wanting more and more. And he did just that. Throughout the whole show, he proved time and time again how amazing of a dancer and mover he was. Sometimes in community theatre, I find that there can be awkward chemistry between lead love interests, however, with Kathy Selden (Brianna Taylor) and Don Lockwood (Ben Lowell), this was not the case. From their very first meeting in the show, I loved the immediate chemistry between the two. Brianna Taylor did an exceptional job showing the contrast between the moment Kathy first met Don,and the moment she simply falls for him. She had a wonderful connection with each and every character she interacted with onstage, and was a full embodiment of her character. Ben Lowell has a voice that rang true to his character. With the pressure of such classic musical theatre songs, he carried himself through those songs flawlessly. A few other standout performances were by Zelda Zanders (Rachel Hunt), Roscoe Dexter (Ivan Rojas- Fuentes), Production Tenor (Damon Fuhriman), and Dora Bailey (Hannah Smith). Rachel Hunt definitely did not disappoint with her comedic timing with Lina Lamont and gracefully danced across the stage in multiple dance numbers. Ivan Rojas- Fuentes played his character with much more pizazz and entertainment than I've ever seen in any production of this show! Damon Fuhriman had a voice that was so smooth and wonderful to listen to as he sang his heart out during "Beautiful Girl". Hannah Smith's character starts off the show with a wonderful, enthusiastic announcer voice that carried wonderfully through the entire auditorium. The ensemble also held many strong, and energetic performers! They carried themselves as well rounded dancers, actors, and singers.
Not only was this cast under the wonderful direction of Megan Worthen Nelson, but another credit under her name is the choreography. This timeless, smooth, entrancing choreography pulled every aspect of this show right where it needed to be! With such limited stage space, she really was able to set the scene, and have her actors carry the choreography through and through each musical number. A few dancers specifically stood out to me and shined through each number they were in such as: Maryn Taylor, Ally Glover, Abigail Smith, and Paige Svea Hardy. They not only looked seamless and flawless with each movement, but they also had the choreography flowing from the tips of their fingers, all the way down to their toes. One of my favorite moments in the choreography, was when Garrett Ashby really showed off what he can do and pulled off a wonderful grand battement side kick! It had the audience cheering and enthralled by this move.
The lighting design is always a favorite of mine when seeing a show at Heritage. Although, a few lighting cues were missed as well as sound, the audience seemed unbothered and also found some of those moments to add an extra touch of comedy. Set design (not credited) and costumes (Gena Lott) were spectacular and added just the right tone for the show. Lina and Kathy's costumes were a favorite of mine, and I felt the costumes really helped differentiate their characters and their characters personalities. With a small stage like this one, I heard many mentions from audience members about how they were going to make it rain, and Heritage made it happen in the best way! One of my absolute favorite moments in this show, was a little girl sitting in the front row. She was probably around 8, at the most, and had been waiting and waiting for that rain to fall. Once it came to the act 1 finale, and the rain started, she surely was NOT disappointed. She giggled and squirmed with excitement the whole song. Honestly, all of us in the audience felt the exact same way, and I loved the excited murmurs and gasps from the audience members the moment the rain started. The major splash zone for the show is on the first two rows, however, you might get a drop or two on you even further back.
Heritage Theatre's production of "Singin' in the Rain" is a show you can't and must not miss! It's a wonderful family show, and it embodies everything this show was meant to be. For years, people have grown to love this wonderful musical, and Heritage does a great job honoring that. The productions runs every Monday, Friday, and Saturday until September 10th starting at 7:30 pm, with matinees on August 27th and September 3rd starting at 2 pm. With all the heart that has gone into this show, you're guaranteed to leave with a smile on your face, as well as an appreciation for live theatre. Theatre matters, theatre is important, and theatre is impactful.