I admit I was a bit skeptical of a Broadway version of one of my favorite MGM musicals but brother, they did it right!
Choreographer Kelli Barclay and director Rick Conant have brought us a show that's the movie come to life...only better. The choreography has the original old school hoofing with taps blazing and that easy style that Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire made famous.
Dancers Tony Yazbeck as Don and Curtis Holbrook as Cosmo are incredible! Perfectly matched and in step during their duos, they are every bit as lithe and athletic as Kelly and O'Connor were in the movie. Holbrook's "Make 'Em Laugh" is a marvel of tap and pratt falls that left me exhausted. "Good Mornin'" in which Shannon O'Bryan as Kathy matched the men step for step was sassy and clever and perfect.
But the show stopper was "Singin'" in the Rain" which has to be seen to be believed. In my opinion Tony Yazbeck was equal in performance to Gene Kelly and, sorry Gene, Yazbeck sings much better and is better looking.
Michelle Ragus as Lina Lamont was ear splittingly funny and had a wonderful song called "What's Wrong with Me" that brought a lot of laughs and a few wolf whistles.
The entire cast was amazing, dancing and singing in the 89 degree heat as if it were a cool spring day. They never seemed to lose energy. Notable are the two young boys who play Don and Cosmo as children, pre-teen tap wizards Matthew Howard and Rexford Calkin. They were as proficient as it gets and cute as buttons, too.
The orchestra was incredible, much improved, I feel, from the last production I attended. Musical Director Michael Horsley had all the instruments well in hand, never missing a cue. And it doesn't hurt to have the likes of clarinetist Elsie Parker and Trumpeter Bob Ceccarini in your orchestra pit.
The entire production got a much deserved standing ovation. What a show, what a night, what a treat!