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Theater

'Singin' in the Rain' showers the Geyer audience with great tunes

| Thursday, July 19, 2018, 12:03 a.m.

The forecast is for a 100 percent chance of showers when the curtain rises on “Singin’ in the Rain” in Scottdale.

“We are making it rain on stage. Yeah, you do not want to miss this,” says Mandy Onder, who will be directing the musical at Geyer Performing Arts Center

The show with four performances July 19-22 spoofs the turmoil that took place in the movie industry in the late 1920s when silent movies gave way to “talkies.”

End of an era

In the musical, the transition to movies with sound is working for leading man Don Lockwood, played by Jeremy Kuharcik of Pittsburgh, but it proves a challenge for his leading lady Lina Lamont (Leigha Bowman of New Alexandria) whose abrasive voice hasn’t been an issue with her career until now.

Don is fine when a stage actress, Kathy Seldon (Layne Lueckert of Mt. Pleasant) is brought in to secretly voice-over Lina’s speaking and singing – until Lina finds out. Kuharcik’s role was played by Gene Kelly in the original 1952 “Singin’ in the Rain” film.

Ty Kinter of Scottdale plays Cosmo Brown, a zany musician and friend of Don Lockwood, a role played by Donald O’Connor in the movie. Kinter says Cosmo is best known for his iconic number, “Make ‘Em Laugh,” and his dancing throughout the show.

“The biggest challenge for me in portraying this character is performing in the style of vaudeville itself,” he says. “The style is so iconic to the 1920s, but it’s not used as often today, so this is really one of my first chances to learn how to perform through the style itself.”

Tribute to a star

Lueckert takes on Debbie Reynolds’ classic portrayal of Kathy Seldon.

“Everyone remembers her stunning rendition of Kathy and I just want to do her justice,” she says. “I feel very honored to bring Kathy to life, especially after Reynolds’ passing. It’s a challenging, yet rewarding and incredible experience.”

Kinter says he hopes the “feel-good show” makes the audience happy and able to forget about any chaos going on in their lives.

The musical is a large undertaking, according to the director, with a total of 75 cast members, crew and musicians from Westmoreland, Fayette, Allegheny and Washington counties.

Within the show, the characters premiere a few films for the audience’s viewing pleasure.

Team effort

“There are several scenes we need to film prior to our actual show and edit together, which we will be doing on-site at West Overton Museum,” she says. “This show has a lot of technical elements that our team has been working tirelessly to iron out.”

Mark Sharlock of Bear Rocks is technical director and John Shollenberger of Pittsburgh of Glimmer Lighting Co. is lighting designer.

Onder most recently directed “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Geyer and has served as acting coach and costumer for Southmoreland High School’s spring musical, “Cinderella.” She is Geyer’s education manager, director of Geyer Choir and an after-school program and has directed several children’s shows at the theater. “Singin’ in the Rain” is her first mainstage musical.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributor

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