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St. Anthony Community Theater presents ‘Singin’ in the Rain’
The St. Anthony Community Theater (SACT) held its first three performances of “Singin’ in the Rain” last weekend.
Opening weekend shows were well attended and the theater reverberated with applause as the show concluded Friday and the cast, orchestra and production crew received a standing ovation on Saturday.
“This has been one of the best shows I’ve seen in my time with the theater,” SACT Webmaster and Communications Tech David Severston admits.
The play is based on the classic 1952 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor film starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds.
It tells the story of a silent film company making a humorous transition to sound in 1920’s Hollywood.
The film remains number one on the American Film Institute’s Greatest Movie Musicals list, and features numerous, iconic song and dance numbers such as: “Make ‘em Laugh,” “Beautiful Girls,” “Good Morning,” “Fit as a Fiddle,” “Moses Supposes” the renowned title song: “Singin’ in the Rain,” and several others.
With over 20 song and dance numbers, and a cast of 26, the production was a challenge for the SACT, but one it was excited about taking on.
“It’s been challenging but rewarding,” director Gina Halupnick says.
She says it was a difficult task adapting the show to stage with a limited budget, a large cast of actors (some playing multiple rolls), just a few trained dancers and multiple sets.
Another challenge, Halupnick says, is that the theater was required to stay true to the script when they obtained the rights.
“The rights are very strict. We had to keep every scene and musical note. We were not able to adapt it to the theater as much as we would have liked,” she says.
The theater auditioned for roles in May and rehearsals started on June 10 and continued just about every evening until opening night.
Theater liaison Cathy Gustafson says it’s an ensemble-type cast, made up of actors of different ages, some from St. Anthony and others from Lakeville and other communities across the metro.
Two of the leads -- Andrew Kohagen, who plays Hollywood star Don Lockwood and Celena Morgan, who plays aspiring actress Kathy Seldon were students of Halupnick’s just a couple of years ago at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts, where Halupnick taught musical theater.
She says she enjoyed working with the two talented performers -- who are currently studying theater in college -- and this was one reason she decided to come on as director for the show.
Halupnick, a choreographer, director and performer, has a BFA in Musical Theater and a minor in Dance from the Boston Conservatory of Music as well as a certificate from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
She was a regular in the PBS series “Ditty Doodle Works” and performed the lead in the off-Broadway production of “Awesome 80s Prom.” She has performed with numerous regional theater companies including Gateway Playhouse in New York, the Guthrie, Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles, Carousel Dinner Theatre in Ohio and others.
This is Halupnick’s directing debut at the SACT, and one that has proven to be a hit with audiences at the theater.
“It’s a classic, fun show. I think people will really enjoy the dancing and singing,” Gustafson says. “It’s a family-friendly, lighthearted comedy that will entertain people of all ages.”
There are two performances of “Singin’ in the Rain” left at the theater. Those shows are at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 and Sunday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.
All shows are at the St. Anthony Village High School Auditorium at 3303 33rd Ave. N.E.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at www.sacttheater.org or at the theater prior to the show.
The play’s cast will also be marching in the Village Fest Parade on Friday, Aug. 2.
The parade begins at 7 p.m. in the St. Charles Borromeo School parking lot and proceeds down Stinson Boulevard to the St. Anthony Shopping Center on Pentagon Drive.
Cast members will be handing out coupons for discounts for the remaining two shows at the parade.
Joshua Nielsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7824.