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New Life Academy musical 'Singin' in the Rain' set to make a splash

There’s a lot more to the movie “Singin’ in the Rain” than that iconic scene of Gene Kelly dancing with a lamp-post in a downpour.

For example, there’s….well, just what is that movie about, anyway?

“Not a lot of people know the plot,” said director Janette Bach, a drama teacher at New Life Academy in Woodbury, where a student cast is rehearsing for the stage version of the classic musical. It opens 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

“I think the rehearsal process is going great,” Bach said. “We have a lot of kids who are very dedicated. They practice together whenever they have a down moment.”

“Singin’ in the Rain” is set in 1927, when Hollywood studios are struggling to make the transition from silent movies to “talkies.” That leads to trouble on the set of “The Dancing Cavalier,” which stars silent film stars Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont in their first speaking roles.

Lamont’s voice turns out to be so shrill that the studio hires a young chorus girl named Kathy Selden to dub her lines. Don takes a shine to the newcomer, sending Lina into not-so-silent fits of jealousy.

Lina screeches out her frustration in a number titled “What’s Wrong with Me?”

Lily Kuhne, 17, who plays the self-deluded Lina, has the peculiar assignment of learning to sing badly on purpose. When director Bach says that Kuhne “sounds pretty bad,” she’s paying her a compliment.

“I actually practice in my car by myself,” Kuhne said. “I think it’s really fun to play someone so over the top and dramatic. Everyone turns their head when they hear you, especially when you scream.”

The more tuneful songs in the show include classics like “Good Mornin’” and “Make ‘em Laugh.” Cole Schulte plays Don and Grace Kileen plays Kathy.

If you go:

“Singin’ in the Rain” runs at 7 p.m. Nov. 3-4 and 10-11 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 and 12 at New Life Academy in Woodbury. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens. For more information visit www.newlifeacademy.org and click on Fine Arts.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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