"Singin' In The Rain," the classic feel-good Gene Kelly movie and popular West End musical, will come to life onstage in Manila soon for a limited run, after a sell-out season in London and a major UK tour. Have you booked your tickets already for this criticially acclaimed production?
Being part of Singin' in the Rain requires the stars to be triple threats: having that amazing ability to dazzle the audience show after show through acting, singing, and dancing. And the three main stars of this musical are triple threats, indeed. Grant Amirall, who plays Don Lockwood, finished with a musical theatre diploma in 2003 and has since been part of many professional productions, which include CATS, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent, Hairspray, and Chicago; most recently, he played Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys.
Kathy Selden will be played by actress Bethany Dickson, who has previously been cast in productions like Grease, Sunset Boulevard, and The Sound of Music. Completing the principal cast lineup for Manila's Singin' in the Rain season is Steven van Wyk portraying Cosmo Brown. Van Wyk began his professional theatre career when he was ten years old in a staging of Les Miserables, and holds an honors degree in dance studies and a diploma in musical theatre. Aside from being onstage for many theatrical productions, he is an accomplished choreographer and founder of Underground Dance Theatre, and has won many awards for his choreography. Van Wyk, Dickson, and Almirall expressed their excitement to the press on being part of the very first production of Singin' In The Rain in the Philippines.
Before hitting the stage this August, its principal cast flew in recently to chat with the press at the media launch, where they also gave us a little taste of the musical with a special performance of 'Good Morning.'
Here are the highlights from the Q&A session with Grant Almirall, Steven van Wyk, and Bethany Dickinson:
On stepping up to the challenge of being part of the staging of a very iconic and star-making movie:
Bethany Dickinson: "We're so lucky to step into the shoes of these roles, it's such a privilege. I have to remind myself and pinch myself that it's actually happening. It can be very daunting because it's a role that is popular. She [Debbie Reynolds as Kathy Selden in the 1952 musical comedy film] made it what it is, and everyone will see her face and hear her voice. There is a lot of pressure... Just tell the story, and people will respond well. Huge, huge shoes to fill and you can't help but think about them, to honor them, and staying true to the spirit of making it our own."
How Singin' In The Rain has influenced them in their performing career:
Steven Van Wyk: "I was given the DVD as a kid, and I grew up with it. I remember I would watch the Broadway ballet section. It's one of those things that made me want to tap dance and keep working on my tap... It was definitely motivating and inspiring, it's such a highlight on dance on film."
On what message Singin' In The Rain imparts on its audience:
Grant Almirall: "When you think of the iconic song Singin' In The Rain, it's raining and it's this thundershower onstage. It dawns on you to just--whatever! Live in the moment, the message in that to find the joy in life no matter what the circumstaces are. If you have something like love to hold on to, it doesn't matter if it's raining, it doesn't matter what's going on. The sunshine is in your heart."
On translating the iconic choreography of the movie onstage for the musical:
Steven: "It's a theater production so it's all new choreography. The feel of the choreography is still the same, but it's not strictly exactly the same. Little bits of choreography are slightly similar, but we try and make it our own take."
Describing the musical in one sentence:
Steve: "'It's a musical of sheer delight.' I think it's totally delightful, lovely and happy-making."
Bethany: "To quote a line from a song, ''The sun will be in your heart and you'll be ready for love.'"
Grant: "And evening of sheer deli---oh, you just said that didn't you?" [Asks Steve]
Bethany: "Just say, what they said."
Grant: [Shrugs] "What they said." [Laughs]
How was it like singing in the rain for the first time? Literally, singing under the theatre rain, when you stepped onstage?
Steve: "I think it's surreal. You know that it's gonna happen but then as it does happen, it's quite unbelievable. I'm actually wet onstage and it's raining onstage, indoors... It doesn't make sense, but there's something about it that's really magical and joyful. And the funniest thing is after a while you kind of zone it out, it's like white noise. When you're actually doing stuff and you are concentrating, and you carry on."
Can you describe your character in three words?
Steve: "Funny, sidekick, problem-solver."
Bethany: "Ambitious, feisty, and.... Hmm. Ahhhh..." [Laughs]
Steve: "Humble, I think she is humble!"
Bethany: "Really? Humble."
Grant: "Charming... Movie star, which is two words, but yeah... And graceful."
If you were caught singing in the rain, what song is it that you're singing?
Bethany: "I'd be singing Taylor Swift."
Steve: "That's a really tough one. Ummm... Let's see, you first." [To Grant]
Grant: "I have absolutely no idea! I would probably be singing..."
[Steve and Bethany break into song]
Steve and Bethany: "I think that I found myself a cheerleader..."
Steve: "We're into this Cheerleader song as of the moment."
Grant: "It would probably be a Maroon 5 song."
What about if you're singing in the shower?
Bethany: [Singing] "And I...." [Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You']
Grant: Definitely a power ballad! The acoustics are good.
For the Manila audience who'll experience Singin' In The Rain for the first time onstage this August, what can they expect from the musical?
Steve: "It's very colorful, it's very full of dancing, I think the dance is the main focus. It's romantic, with lots of comedy numbers and high energy. I think it's something for everyone. It's a feast for the eyes and the ears."
Singin’ In The Rain will open on August 20 and play for a strictly limited season at The Theatre at Solaire, 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City, Paranaque. For ticket inquiries, please call Ticketworld at (63 2) 891-9999. For more information, visit www.ticketworld.com.ph, Like the Ticketworld Facebook page (/ticketworldinc) and Concertus Manila Facebook page (/ConcertusManila).
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