‘Singing in the Rain’ is an Upbeat, Up-Tempo Musical with a Crowd-Pleasing Star

The Muny’s current production of “Singing in the Rain” thoroughly entertains with genuinely likeable characters, catchy melodies and spectacular tap-dancing. Featuring “High School Musical” alum Corbin Bleu, the cheerful show laughs, sings, and splashes its way to a happy place. A breezy plot about filmmaking, plenty of romance and a reliably comic sidekick make this musical a deliciously sweet treat for hot summer nights.

Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown are lifelong best friends and dance partners, even though Brown is just a piano player with a quick wit and Lockwood is the biggest star on the silent silver screen. But Lockwood is unhappy and exhausted by his faux-romance with leading lady Lina Lamont. It’s the perfect time to introduce serious actress and chorus girl Kathy Selden and talking pictures! Such is the premise of the madcap romantic comedy that makes up in singing and dancing what it lacks in plot.

Bleu is captivating as Lockwood, with a mellifluous voice that’s effortlessly warm and smooth. His dancing is top-notch as well, ensuring songs like “Moses Supposes,” “Good Morning” and, of course, “Singing in the Rain” are visual and musical treats. Berklea Going, as Selden, is Bleu’s real romantic interest. Her voice is pure, with a bright, perky tone that naturally compliments his, ensuring her take on “Would You” stands out. The two are accomplished dancers and seem to fall together in perfect synchronicity each time the music starts up.

Muny favorite Jeffrey Schecter is Cosmo Brown, and he fills the character with good humor and a sharp tongue. He is not quite as polished a tap dancer, but “Make ‘Em Laugh” is a gem of physical comedy and precise timing. Megan Sikora and her shrill voice steal several scenes as Lina Lamont. Her off-key rendition of “What’s Wrong with Me?” is sympathetic and so bad it’s good. Jeff McCarthy, George Merrick and Debby Lennon give their supporting characters a solid comic touch and Kaitlin Nelson, Jeremiah Porter and Daryl Tofa are a lot of fun as the Assistant Directors.

Dancing is the centerpiece of this musical, however. From “Fit as a Fiddle” to the joyful splashed tapping in the rain, the “Good Morning” couch maneuver, the flashy “Broadway Rhythm” and almost every scene in between, tap dancing is where this musical excels. Director Marc Bruni and music director Ben Whiteley wisely focus our attention on the musical numbers. Rommy Sandhu’s choreography expertly supplements the original dances by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, throwing in a contemporary reference here and there but staying close to the original.

“Singing in the Rain” is a wonderful choice for the Muny. Bleu, a star on the rise, has the voice and footwork to take on these classic characters and bygone legends. Even with an all-star supporting cast, his talent shines brilliantly and he’s clearly capable of keeping the audience charmed. One can only hope he’ll return to the Muny stage soon.

At The Muny through July 3rd. For more information call (314) 361-1900 or visit www.muny.org.