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JRT presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

By PAM JOHNSON

If you’re ready for a “sit back and just enjoy” type of show, Singin’ in the Rain is a must. Adapt- ed from the 1952 classic movie starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, this musical comedy is nonstop entertainment for the whole family.

The story follows the careers of Don Lockwood (Andy Rogers) and Lina Lamont (Shannon Cook), who are all the rage in Hollywood. But when “talking pictures” become the talk of Holly- wood, Don and his partner Cosmo Brown (Lucas Schmidt) realize that Lina’s unsuitable voice won’t pass the test, so they device a plan to dub her voice with a new talent, Kathy Selden (Hollie Wright), who becomes Lina’s number one rival on many levels.

If you loved the movie, Rogers believes you’ll also love the stage play. “The direction by Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt and the choreography by Rebekah Knisley are two of the many reasons why audiences won’t be disappointed by this adaptation. Both draw from themes in the movie, but do not provide a carbon copy. They find the authenticity in the characters to tell a story of love. I find this adaptation very fresh and fun.”

Wright agrees. “For many people, they have grown up watching the movie and remember its songs and beloved dances. Paying homage to such an iconic classic is always a challenge, but the director and choreographer of this production have accomplished that and more, adding their own unique flair to the story.”

Besides experiencing a lot of energy and fun and amazing talent, audience members may leave the theatre with a “takeaway message” to ponder during the drive home.

Wright emphasized, “For me, the big takeaway of this show is to dream big. The show is filled with characters all chasing some sort of dream, many of whom learn important lessons in pursuit of that dream—lessons of honesty, humility, sacrifice, friendship, and more. In a world that is always changing, the characters of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ must learn how to adapt to new challenges and problems while not compromising who they are and who they want to be. I think, to an extent, we all can relate to that!”

The show speaks to Rogers a bit differently.

“One of my favorite scenes from the show is
the titular musical number of ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’ We find a man, who, despite the elements and problems of the world, dances and sings right in the midst of it all. He laughs at adversity and finds such joy because his heart is full. I hope we all find that kind of joy and happiness in the midst of the craziness of our world today.”

Choreographer and ensemble member Rebekah Knisley’s sums it up in two sentences: “A take- away from this show is how valuable friendship can be. With some great people by your side, nothing can hold you back!”

This is an enjoyable production for all ages. Shannon Cook, who plays Lina, believes ‘Singin’ in the Rain is a production to be enjoyed by all ages.

“This is such a family-friendly show, so it makes such a great night out for everyone,” she said. “Our production balances humor, romance, and classic Hollywood, and you can’t walk away from this show without a smile.”

“Singin’ in the Rain” is written by Betty Com- den and Adolph Green, with songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. The show and music are directed by Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, and choreographed by Rebekah Knisley. The cast includes Bethany Bennett, Elijah Berry, Shannon Cook, Kelcie Cornett, Ian Corriere, Kelly Cruise, Kaitlyn Dorr, Cierra Fannon, Sawyer Franklin, Shawn Hale, Joseph Hunter, Caleb Knisley, Rebekah Knisley, Emush Lamb, JJ Lane, Nathan Marooney, Molly McGill, Catherine Oakes, Elliott Price, Andy Rogers, Lucas Schmidt, Sharon Squibb, Anthony Vaughn, Hannah Grace Wallen, Zephaniah Wells, Lucas Wilcox, and Hollie Wright.

The production is sponsored by Donna & Dan Cobb; Denny Dentistry; Bonita & John Martin; McLeod Organics; Murphy, Inc; Sonia King; and Law Offices of James R. Wheeler.

Shows run Thursdays through Sundays, Feb. 24 – March 20. Tickets are $17 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to jonesboroughtheatre.com. The theatre is located at 125.5 W. Main St., Jonesborough.