It wasn't Hollywood; it was better. The gorgeous mountain setting and unusually warm air by themselves made Sundance Summer Theater's opening night Thursday a pleasant experience. Then director/choreographer Jayne Luke and a talented cast made "Singin' in the Rain" absolutely delightful.
It's the theater's 20th anniversary, and the show is Luke's gift to the audiences - an estimated half million people by now - who've come to the shows every summer. (The new manager's gift to the theater was a new, flat floor on the stage.) This production has "Jayne Luke" written all over it, from the energetic, visually exciting dances to the clever way it rains. (How? I'm not giving away one of the show's best scenes. You'll have to see for yourself!) The entire show is a huge, refreshing dose of Luke's creative genius.The dancers as well as the dances are top-notch. The audience whistled and cheered after the performance of the "Moses Supposes" tap number by David Tinney, Pat Debenham, and Scott A. Bodily.
The wholesome-looking Tinney is equally adept as a singer and gives a fine performance as Don Lockwood, the silent-movies idol whose publicity managers have him paired romantically with his screen lover, Lina Lamont. The truth is, he can't stand her.
Stephanie Capener is appropriately obnoxious in the role of the beautiful but very dumb blonde screen actress whose schrieking vocal tones just don't make it when "talkies" come in.
Besides dancing, Bodily also does well in his portrayal of Lockwood's longtime friend and pianist, Cosmo Brown. His singing voice is one of the best in the show.
Shellie Lynn Warnick, who also possesses a strong singing voice, dancing ability, and an air of dignity, plays Lockwood's romantic interest, Kathy Seldon, at first totally unimpressed by him or his movie-star status.
David Spencer as the patronizing director of Monumental Studios, Star Hayner Roman as the effervescent Hollywood gossip, and the "two guys who do all the work" - Brad Nelson and Matt Winter - also deserve mention. A cast of 15 works well together onstage and really shines in song and dance.
Special mention goes to Janet Swenson for costumes, which include sequined dancing gowns and elaborate, plumed garbs for the Hollywood movie stage production numbers.
From the spotlighted "HOLLYWOOD" letters on the grassy hillside to the billowing draperies, movie screen, and stars on the "sidewalks" outside Grauman's Chinese Theater (a.k.a. Sundance theater stage), no detail has been overlooked in the special effects department. And, of course, there's the rain. . . . But you'll have to see that for yourself.