Maine State Music Theatre closes its 60th season later this month with “Singing in the Rain’. A classic musical based on a classic 1952 movie, this stage production is a multi-faceted buffet of high-quality entertainment. 

For the audience, it’s two hours of delightful, colorful, mesmerizing, joy-inducing, kinetic artistic stimuli. Like a living, breathing kaleidoscope. One moment red-carpet glamour, the next vaudevillian humor, then romance, then slapstick, then breathtaking dance number. With a backdrop of the era of movie-making during the transition from silent films to “talkies,” there are also hysterical and well-crafted video sequences which pepper the performance. “Singing in the Rain” includes top-notch songs including “Good Morning,” “Make ‘Em Laugh,” “Moses Supposes,” “Broadway Melody” and the iconic title number. 

The principal cast includes Nicolas Dromard as Don Lockwood, Brian Shepard as Cosmo Brown, Kate Fahrner as Kathy Selden, Kim Sava as Lina Lamont, David Girolmo as R.F. Simpson and Andy Kindig as Roscoe Dexter. MSMT veterans Charis Leos and Glenn Anderson also appear. The lead cast consists of very talented triple-threat performers. The performance of Dromard must be the stage equivalent of running a half marathon. It cannot be overstated what kind of conditioning and stamina is required to pull off the role created by Gene Kelly. Dromard accomplished it with charm and grace. 

While Marc Robin does his usual stellar job of directing, it’s yet again his choreography which makes me swoon. This is, true to the movie, a major dance show, and while there are several styles of dance throughout which create a lovely texture to the action, tap is king. Not a few token moments of tap to placate the audience, long scenes of tap solo, in pairs, in groups. Tap on the stage, tap on furniture, tap in water and probably tap in the air. So much giddy-making tap. Yes, tap in water. They indeed make it rain on the MSMT stage. 

Another major component of “Singing in the Rain” is the costuming. Costume Designer and MSMT Costume Rental Coordinator Travis Grant did a magnificent job with this show. From over-the-top ensembles for “Beautiful Girls” to Kathy’s stylishly subtle dresses, his choices of color, fabric and line are on the mark. Before the show, Travis told me about a number with around 100 costume changes for leads and chorus. One of the changes lasts four and a half minutes, the rest are shorter, some much shorter. When pressed for a total, Grant offered that there are “more than 300 costume looks in the whole show.”

The section of the show with 100 changes is also about the time I thought “essentially Act II is one long amazing finale.” Truly, there is such energy and color and singing and dancing in those connected scenes that you feel like they must be coming to the end while it’s still the middle. It’s a huge amount of entertainment for an audience who more than gets its money’s worth. I wish I had space to recognize each of the 100 or so staff, volunteers, musicians, technicians and performers who make this happen. 

Prior to curtain, Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark announced next season’s amazing lineup. The main stage productions begin with two shows never before produced at MSMT,  “Sophisticated Ladies” and “Treasure Island.” In the third slot is “Hello Dolly” with Leos in the lead role, followed by “The Wizard of Oz,” a show which has not been on the MSMT stage since 1961, 

 “Singing in the Rain” runs through Aug. 25. Tickets are available online at msmt.org, by calling 725-8769 or at the Pickard Theater box office at Bowdoin College.

Tamara Lilly is a Woolwich native with 30-plus years as performer, tech, producer, director, teacher, board member and staffer at community theaters in Maine, Texas and Pennsylvania.