Thursday, June 4, 2015

60 Years since its Film Debut and Singin' In the Rain is Coming to Manila!

My generation and the generation before me loved Gene Kelly. He was the "crush ng bayan" (heartthrob). And he ranked up there alongside Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in musicals with dancing. One of the most loved musicals that showcased Gene Kelly's dancing ability was Singin' In the Rain.

Now, even the millenials will relish the experience of Gene Kelly's dancing because the UK production is coming to Manila, specifically Solaire, on August 20, 2015.

The Original Production: A Brief Flashback

Singin' In the Rain was an iconic 1952 MGM movie. Set in 1927, it tells the story of one of the first Hollywood musicals in an era that was just transitioning out of silent movies into those with sound. Gene Kelly and a very young Debbie Reynolds delighted audiences with their singing and tap dancing which, with Gene Kelly around, was delightful to the eye and choreographed flawlessly.

Digging through the internet, I discovered some trivia about the original filmmaking:

* Gene Kelly was running a fever during the filming of the Singin' In the Rain part. He insisted on doing a take even if the blocking was rudimentary. Gene Kelly basically adlibbed his way through and it took all of ONE TAKE - and that's what we see in the film. Whew!

Here's that splash video:

* Debbie Reynolds was not a dancer but a gymnast. Gene Kelly was said to have insulted her for it. Fred Astaire found Debbie sobbing under a piano and coached her dancing. Debbie was said to have remarked that childbirth and surviving Singin' In the Rain were two of the most difficult things she ever had to do.

The Manila Production

At the recent media launch, we were introduced to the 3 main characters of the musical.

The 3 main characters in the musical (from left): Cosmo Brown, Kathy Selden, and Don Lockwood

Leading the cast of 27 are Grant Almirall in Gene Kelly's role as Don Lockwood, Bethany Dickson in Debbie Reynolds' role as Kathy Selden, and Steven van Wyk as the sidekick of Don Lockwood, Cosmo Brown.

The plot revolves around Don Lockwood, a famous silent movie star who enjoyed fame, adulation and a much-publicized romance with his leading lady. It was the time of the silent moves, the era of Charlie Chaplin, and yet there were rumors that Hollywood was undergoing a change into films where actors could actually talk, sing and dance. The musical depicts their attempt to transition into this new film mold while showing a developing relationship between Don and chorus girl Kathy.

Aside from the classic Singin' In the Rain, fans of the old movie will recognize other songs such as Good Morning, Make 'Em Laugh, Moses Supposes and others.

The Awesomeness is in the Details

Immense skill and creativity went to making the musical as faithful to the original production as possible while introducing some new features to accommodate the 60-year gap between the film and this stage production.

Here's what to expect.

ONE, the sounds in the film had to be faithfully translated to the greatest extent on stage because the audience would come expecting to hear certain things. Robert Scott, the musical supervisor of the show, is emphatic that preserving the spirit of the original show is important. “You’ve got a responsibility to serve the piece as well as the movie because people come expecting to hear certain things and that’s what we have to provide.

TWO (are you ready for this???), rain will literally pour down on the stage twice at each performance for a total of 12,000 liters of water! The first 3 rows are designated as the "Splash Zone" because those seated in these rows will leave the theater a bit more wet than when they came in. “You watch from the back of the stalls and at the interval, they’re all talking to each other like they’re comparing war wounds just to see who got the wettest. I’d say people really, really love it,” says resident rainmaker and technical director Richard Blacksell.

The entire rainmaking process is environment friendly. All of the water is UV-treated, sand-filtered and chlorinated. It is also warmed up so that the cast will not chill inside an air-conditioned theater. A catch basin under the specially made stage allows the water to be recycled. Unlike the film, this stage production will draw the audience into the performance itself, a one-of-a-kind experience.

THREE, the audience will be treated to high-energy choreography, colorful and eye candy sets and costumes, a superb musical score, and a wonderful story. There won't be a dull moment as every scene is meant to capture the senses.

Ticket Details

Singin In the Rain begins August 20, 2015 at The Theatre at Solaire, 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City, Paranaque City.

Call Ticketworld for tickets at telephone (02) 891-9999. You may also visit them online at

Shows run as follows:


Premium Gold A Reserve                        PhP 6,000
Orchestra VIP                                        PhP 6,000
Premium Gold A Reserve                        PhP 5,250
Orchestra A Reserve                               PhP 5,250
Orchestra B Reserve                               Php 4,500
Balcony C Reserve                                 PhP 3,250
Balcony D Reserve                                 PhP 2,500
Balcony E Reserve                                 PhP 1,500

Ticket Prices are exclusive of TicketWorld fees and Ticket Protect.


The stage production of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is based on the classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film by special arrangement with Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Inc. Music Published by EMI. Produced by arrangement with Maurice Rosenfield, Lois F Rosenfield and Cindy Pritzker Inc. 

This production is directed by Jonathan Church, with musical supervisor Robert Scott and Olivier Award nominated choreography by Andrew Wright; it is designed by Simon Higlett, with sound by Matt McKenzie and lighting by Tim Mitchell.

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN is presented in Manila by David Atkins Enterprises, Michael Cassel Group, Concertus Manila, Dainty Group and Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and is produced by Stage Entertainment and Chichester Festival Theatre.

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