Shakespeare meets sitcom: ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ brings laughs to Zilker Park (and it’s free)

Shakespeare in the park may be quite difficult to produce and present — and sometimes watch — but Austin Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” displays once again the company’s formula for a successful evening of Shakespeare under the stars. By focusing on Shakespearean comedies — last year’s show was “The Comedy of Errors” — artistic director Ann Ciccolella has created an atmosphere of witty, whimsical entertainment that can withstand a distracted, and sometimes distracting, audience laid out on blankets and camping chairs.

Nick Lawson, left, and Toby Minor in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Contributed by Errich Petersen

This year’s free production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at Zilker Park is perhaps even more successful than “The Comedy of Errors,” thanks to the way in which co-directors Ciccolella and Gwendolyn Kelso have chosen to focus on the play’s inherently episodic comedic scenes with a unique concept that weds the story to a 1950s sitcom aesthetic.

“The Merry Wives of Windsor” tells the story of John Falstaff as he attempts to woo two married women. In these “merry wives,” though, the jolly, rotund and witty knight has met his match, as they continually outwit and humiliate him. With such a comedic setup, the play rather naturally lends itself to the conceit of Austin Shakespeare’s production, which utilizes gorgeous costumes (designed by Benjamin Taylor Ridgway) and sets (designed by Patrick W. Anthony) that deliberately evoke the charm of shows like “I Love Lucy” and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”

Though the production could stand to buy into this concept a bit further — the verbal delivery is classic Shakespearean, rather than leaning into the unique linguistic style of such old-school sitcoms — it works marvelously for what is ultimately a somewhat frivolous piece of the Shakespeare canon. In fact, because of its frivolity, and its focus on sex farce and middle-class relationships, the play holds up remarkably well to modern eyes, and this format takes full advantage of the text’s lighter nature. By crafting a deliberately episodic approach to the play, Ciccolella and Kelso account for audiences whose minds may wander to the nature or the stars around them.

Gwendolyn Kelso, Toby Minor and Babs George in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” Contributed by Errich Petersen

Though filled with strong performances, the true standouts of the production include Babs George and Kelso as the titular “merry wives,” who excel at broadcasting the text’s ironic humor with a wink and a smile. Nick Lawson, as Master Ford, is similarly adept at the show’s broad comedy, particularly when his character becomes increasingly worked up as the story unfolds. Finally, Toby Minor delights as a very physical version of Falstaff (owing, no doubt, to Minor’s expertise in the physicality of stage combat) that hones in on the buffoonish qualities of the character, a good fit for this sitcom-inspired production.

Austin Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is, by design, a piece of light, over-the-top springtime entertainment to be enjoyed in the beauty of Zilker Park, and at that it succeeds wonderfully.

“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through May 27
Where: Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater, 2206 William Barton Drive
Cost: Free
Information: austinshakespeare.org

‘Grounded,’ a one-woman show about a military pilot, soars

We’ve heard a lot about drone warfare in the past few years, from the constitutionality of such attacks to the level of secrecy associated with the programs. One thing that rarely gets discussed, though, is the effect that waging war from thousands of miles away has on the pilots and operators of those drones.

Contributed by Chris Conard

This is the subject of George Brant’s play “Grounded,” now in a new production from Street Corner Arts at Hyde Park Theater. The one-woman show features an unnamed pilot telling the story of her career as she went from hotshot jet fighter pilot to drone operator thanks to an unplanned — but not unwanted — pregnancy. She tells the audience about both her satisfactions and frustrations with the job, while showing the ways in which it wears upon her psyche and influences her home life.

As “The Pilot” in Street Corner Arts’ production, Sarah Danko is transcendent. She strikes the perfect balance, vocalizing the pilot’s story while simultaneously physicalizing and emoting the riotous turmoil going on just beneath the surface. At turns arrogant, sexy, vulnerable, angry, disturbed and loving, Danko’s portrayal is all the more impressive for the fact that her entire journey takes place in front of the audiences’ eyes with no intermission.

Thanks to director Benjamin Summers, lighting designer Chris Conard and video/sound designer Lowell Bartholomee, Danko is never quite alone on stage. Though told in the present tense, the story clearly evolves from her memory as she evokes moods, images, light and sound that help tell her story and express her emotional depths. The use of such elements avoids overkill, allowing Danko to remain the heart of the production without getting overwhelmed by external trappings.

The production serves Brant’s text marvelously well. The extended monologue is densely packed with symbols and metaphors but expressed through immediate, visceral, every-day language. Simultaneously poetic and conversational, the equal emphasis on story and imagery is borne out wonderfully by Danko, Summers and the entire production crew.

“Grounded” is a funny, moving, disturbing piece of theater that is all the more powerful for its unique look at an important contemporary issue and its stunning, heartbreaking one-woman performance.

“Grounded”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday through April 21, with additional performance 8 p.m. April 16
Where: Hyde Park Theatre, 511 W. 43rd St.
Cost: $15-$22
Information: streetcornerarts.org

Conspiracy and paranoia take center stage in 9/11-themed ‘Yankee Tavern’

For better or worse, we live in a time filled with conspiracy theories. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there are outlandish stories dominating social media to suit your darkest beliefs about the secret masters pulling the strings behind our fraught, tenacious moment.

Contributed

But ours is not the first period in which conspiracy theories have ruled the roost. Think of the JFK assassination. TWA Flight 800. Or the mother of all 21st century conspiracy theories, 9/11.

This is the context behind Steven Dietz’s play “Yankee Tavern,” now receiving a new Austin production courtesy of Different Stages. The story is entirely set in a New York City bar, the titular Yankee Tavern, a down-on-its-luck dive that has seen better days. The bar and the abandoned hotel above it are owned by Adam, a young man who inherited the establishment from his father. He is helped by his fiancé, Janet, and his father’s best friend, Ray, though the entire building is scheduled to be demolished soon.

Ray dominates the first act of the play, staggering across the stage, opining about a variety of conspiracy theories both new and familiar, particularly those relating to 9/11. In their discussion of these conspiracies, all three characters reveal their own hidden doubts, insecurities and inabilities to leave certain mysteries unsolved. It is very much a character-driven drama that revolves around these conspiratorial debates.

The second act, though, takes a drastic narrative turn and becomes a straight-out thriller, as Adam and Janet find themselves wrapped up in a 9/11 conspiracy themselves, embodied by a threatening stranger who sat at the bar, mostly silent, throughout the first act. This sudden shift is a bit jarring and might work better if the intermission didn’t interrupt the dramatic buildup between acts, but both halves are interesting in their own right.

Director Norman Blumensaadt takes a very spare, realistic approach to the text, allowing the oddities of the conspiracies to create a weird atmosphere without any bells or whistles added. This works well, as it allows the cast to shine. Bill Karnovsky is particularly strong as Ray, embodying an old-school type of New Yorker who is equally as charming as he is off-putting, while Kelsey Mazak, as Janet, embodies the play’s dramatic arc with her slow unraveling and descent into paranoia. Will Douglas’ tightly wound Adam and Greg Ginther’s imposing Palmer (the stranger at the bar) both add to the tension, though the text gives them a bit less to work with.

Despite being uneven in its dramatic tonal shift, “Yankee Tavern” is a thoroughly engaging thriller that, in addition to telling a good story, also raises important questions about the things we question, why we question them and whether it’s more dangerous to ourselves (and to society) to get answers or not.

“YANKEE TAVERN”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday through April 14, with no performance on April 1 and added performance April 11
Where: Santa Cruz Theater, 1805 E. Seventh St.
Cost: $15-$30
Information: differentstagestheatre.org.

Sex and sardines: City Theatre’s ‘Noises Off’ is an energetic farce

Michael Frayn’s 1982 play “Noises Off” is perhaps the most-produced English-language farce, popular with professional and community theaters across the United States and the United Kingdom. It is, in some ways, the theatrical version of “How did the chicken cross the road?”; its humor relies on the way it twists and turns traditional farce by distorting expectations.

“Noises Off.” Contributed by Aleksander Ortynski

“Noises Off” begins as a traditional sex farce, embodied by the play-within-a-play “Nothing On,” which features several amorous characters running around a country house bringing plates of sardines on and off stage while banging doors open and closed with perfect comedic timing. It’s a play that’s all about, as the characters of “Noises Off” frequently remind us, “Doors and sardines.”

“Noises Off,” itself, takes us behind those doors, and shows us what happens to the sardines when offstage and in the hands of a group of actors and stage managers with a variety of conflicts among themselves. Each act of the play features either a rehearsal or a performance of the first act of “Nothing On.” Act One shows us the final rehearsal; Act Two a performance from back-stage; and Act Three one of the final, disastrous performances from the audience’s perspective.

The City Theatre’s new production of “Noises Off,” running through March 11, reminds us why it is such a popular play. The fast-paced antics of the actors, in both their onstage and offstage personas, create a delightful ensemble piece that works hard to milk every last laugh.

“Noises Off” is something of a passion project for director J. Kevin Smith, who has served both backstage and as an actor in two previous productions. His love for the play shines through in the attention to detail in the enthusiastic staging, aided and abetted by properties master Emily Durden and costume designer Scout Gutzmerson. The production’s set is something to behold in and of itself; designer Kakii Keenan, along with assistant designer Blossom Bennett, have created a mobile set of doors and stairs that the stage crew rotates during the play’s two intermissions, turning the show both literally and figuratively inside out.

The cast of “Noises Off” is nothing if not energetic, with a range of comedy styles appealing to many different tastes. Brent Rose, as Gary, is all manic excitement, his lanky frame the perfect canvas for a highly physical performance, while Sean Hannigan’s Selsdon is far more subtle and wry, and Stacy Trammell’s approach to the young ingénue Brooke imbues the character’s dim-wittedness with an almost surrealist aura. The entire cast particularly shines in the largely pantomimed second act, where they excel at the broad physical humor demanded by the scene.

“Noises Off” is ultimately meant to be nothing more than a bit of fun, and in this regard City Theatre’s new production wildly succeeds, creating an evening of wackiness, hijinks and, of course, doors and sardines.

“NOISES OFF”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday through March 11
Where: 3823 Airport Blvd.
Cost: $10-$25
Information: citytheatreaustin.org.

‘The Father’ is a heartbreaking drama about an overlooked problem

Florian Zeller’s drama “The Father” has been an international sensation in recent years, first winning the French playwright a Molière Award (the national theater award of France) for best play in 2014 and then coming to both the West End and Broadway in an English translation by Christopher Hampton.

From left, Heidi Penix, Eric Austin, David R. Jarrott, Amber Quick, Lori Kovacevich and Joel Gross star in “The Father.
Contributed by Kayleigh Axtell

The play tells the story of Andrè, a senior citizen suffering from increasing dementia, but it relates the events to the audience from Andrè’s point of view. Scenery moves and disappears from scene to scene, doorways shift location in blackouts, narrative moments appear out of order, and unfamiliar actors appear claiming to be characters we’ve already met. The text demands two key things of any production — a tour-de-force performance from its lead (Frank Langella won a Tony Award for the role on Broadway), and a deliberately confusing and off-putting presentation that helps to place the audience inside Andrè’s head.

Jarrott Productions’ Austin premier of “The Father,” playing through March 4 at Trinity Street Theatre, meets both these high marks. Austin theater mainstay David Jarrott’s portrayal of Andrè is fierce, frightening and ultimately all-too-sympathetic, which enables director Rick Roemer to develop staging conventions that help us understand Andrè’s pain while at the same time glimpsing the ways in which he passes that pain off to his own daughter, Anne.

Amber Quick, as Anne, is able to match Jarrott’s strength, creating a bristling family dynamic. The relationship between the pair is at the heart of the show, as it reveals the suffering that dementia brings not only to the afflicted but also to their concerned family members. Just as we are led to understand Andrè’s outbursts and anger, which result from his confusion, we can sympathize with some of the more desperate decisions that Anne makes because we see the heartache etched across Quick’s face.

Though Jarrott and Quick steal the show, “The Father” is truly a collaboration, with the rest of the cast and the entire design team contributing to an overall aesthetic that deliberately obscures narrative truth in order to get at deeper emotional issues of family obligation, elder abuse and the ways in which memory can bring us both comfort and pain.

‘THE FATHER’
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through March 4
Where: Trinity Street Theatre, 901 Trinity St.
Cost: $23-$25
Information: jarrottproductions.com

Today’s hires, fires, gifts and honors in Austin arts

We lied. This post reports on no firings. You can relax.

Yet “hires, fires, gifts and honors” sounds like a good catch-all headline. We might use it again.

Zilker Theatre Productions makes two key hires

The group that has staged the Zilker Summer Musical for 60 years has taken on J. Robert “Jimmy” Moore as artistic director. Moore, remembered recently for “Buyer and Cellar” at Zach Theatre, will work alongside Executive Director Kate Hix, already in place. Also, one of those beloved behind-the-scenes heroes, Shannon Richey, has been drafted as director of production. Moore and Richey are trusted veterans who will undoubtedly bolster this free and singularly Austin tradition. No word on next summer’s selection.

J. Robert Moore is now artistic director for Zilker Theatre Productions. Contributed

RELATED: Moore joins the Brotherhood of Barbra.

Austin Opera elects new board chairman

Arts benefactors Gail and Jeff Kodosky. Contributed by Becky Delgado

Austin Opera‘s board of trustees has designated Jeff Kodosky, founder of National Instruments and inveterate arts lovers, as its next chairman. He takes over the position from Elisabeth Waltz, who has served as chairwoman 2016. Kodosky has been with the board and the company through thick and thin since 1996. I’m sure this quiet, smiling man could tell some tales about the group that almost went away at least twice, but also has triumphed repeatedly. Next up is “Carmen’ in November.

Huston-Tillotson is now an all-Steinway school. Contributed

Huston-Tillotson is now an all-Steinway school

Following a gift of $800,000, Huston-Tillotson University will become the only institution of higher learning in Central Texas, the fourth historically black college or university in the country, and the 196th college or university to join the All-Steinway School club. University officials will unveil the Steinway pianos during their Charter Day Convocation 10 a.m. Oct. 27, 2017 in the King-Seabrook Chapel on the campus at 900 Chicon Street. In addition, Steinway artist Marcus Roberts and the Marcus Roberts Trio will headline a special concert.

Tracy Bonfitto is the Ransom Center’s new curator of art. Contributed by Pete Smith

Ransom Center selects new curator of art

Austinites generally think of the Ransom Center as a literary treasure trove with out-of this-world strengths in modern literature, movies, performing arts and photography. And, oh yes, the Watergate papers. Yet is also houses, preserves and exhibits a lot of excellent visual art, too. Over the summer, Tracy Bonfitto was named curator of art. She comes with sterling credentials from Getty Research Institute, the Fowler Museum at UCLA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She’s also a University of Texas grad.

I’m sure she will meld partnerships with the other distinguished and closely related cultural spots in that area of Austin, including the Blanton Museum of Art, LBJ Presidential Library, Briscoe Center for American History and Bullock Texas State History Museum as well as UT’s highly regarded Landmarks public arts program and its Visual Arts Center. Maybe the new Ellsworth Kelly house will help point the way visually and viscerally for more of a interrelated cultural campus.

‘Woman in Black’ offers classic scares for Halloween

“Woman in Black” has quite a pedigree behind it. Stephen Mallatratt’s play, based on the 1983 Gothic horror novella of the same name by writer Susan Hill, has been playing in London since 1987, making it the second longest-running play in West End (London’s version of Broadway) history (only beaten by “The Mousetrap”).

Penfold Theatre is getting spooky for its Halloween season production, the hair-raising ghost story “Woman in Black.”

This Halloween, Penfold Theatre, 7 Towers Theatre and the Austin Scottish Rite Theater have joined forces to bring the spooky story to local audiences.

In Hill’s original novella, the story of “The Woman in Black” is structured around the reminiscences of a London solicitor named Arthur Kipps, who faced both supernatural horror and devastating personal loss as a young man when he was assigned to handle the estate of a reclusive woman in the small town of Crythin Gifford. Mallatratt’s play cleverly creates a theatrical framework around this story by having Kipps enlist the help of an unnamed actor in order to portray on stage the events of his haunted experience. The actor ends up playing Kipps, while the real Kipps assumes every other role. In the process, both men come to discover that sometimes the past doesn’t stay hidden and that stories can be dangerous to both the teller and the listener.

The Scottish Rite Theatre is the perfect venue for this spine-tingler as it allows director Emily Rankin and scenic designer Christopher Conard to play with a cavernously large stage that has an eerie, “Inferno”-sequel mural looming in the background. Lighting designer Patrick Anthony makes fantastic use of this space and manages to create a variety of scenic changes and dramatic effects through lighting alone (something incredibly important for a play that relies on shadows and light as an integral part of the story).

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Stephen Price as Kipps and Kareem Bader as the actor are both solid in their roles, convincingly shifting between multiple character layers throughout the tale’s meta-theatrical unweaving. Bader is particularly good at creating a compelling aura of unease that helps boost the play’s uncanny atmosphere.

“Woman in Black” has had such a successful run in London for a reason: It is a classic piece of entertaining, imaginative theater that has the ability to enthrall audiences when it is at its most potent. Despite a very slow start, the Penfold/7 Towers/Scottish Rite production builds up to that atmosphere, thanks to Price’s and Bader’s performances, Anthony’s innovative lighting and Rankin’s creative staging conceits. It’s not the flashiest or most cutting-edge of shows, but it effectively tells Mallatratt’s and Hill’s eerie story, a perfect fit for the Halloween season.

“WOMAN IN BLACK”
When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 29, with no performance Oct. 21 and additional performance Oct. 30
Where: Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.
Cost: $18-$25
Information: penfoldtheatre.org

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Catching a bit of culture on the University of Texas jumbotron

The jumbotron at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium. Contributed by Wikipedia

The 2017 Longhorns football team seems to be the real deal. Its three losses were close and two of those were against highly ranked teams. The next home game is Oct. 21 against Oklahoma State University. At times at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, all eyes will be on the jumbotron, which will run three Roy Spence-inspired promos for three top cultural attractions on the University of Texas campus.

Using UT’s patented “What Starts Here Changes the World” slogan, the short videos tout the wonders of the Blanton Museum of Art, Harry Ransom Center, and LBJ Presidential Library.

“UT is renowned for its academics, athletics and vibrant pace of life,” Spence, cofounder of GSD&M creative agency, says. “We also wanted to shine a light on the rich culture that makes UT so extraordinary: its arts and their historical positive impact on society. Within walking distance to the football stadium, UT’s cultural and history-making treasures are a special part of the campus and its legacy. This was an opportunity to showcase those in a big way to both students on campus and nationally to our football fans.”

In addition to running on the jumbotron prompts, the Longhorn Network will air the ads. I hope the creators in coming years expand the program to include the Briscoe Center for American HistoryTexas Performing ArtsBenson Latin American Collection and other UT easily accessible to the general public.

Classical guitarist Matthew Hinsley named Texas Citizen of the Year

Earlier this month in Galveston, Matthew Hinsley, executive director of the Austin Classical Guitar, accepted the Texas Citizen of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers. Later that week at the AISD Performing Arts Center, Hinsley gave a brief pre-concert talk about what makes his nonprofit a nationwide model for arts-based community service.

Matthew Hinsley, executive director of Austin Classical Guitar, has been named Texas Citizen of the Year. Contributed by Austin Classical Guitar

We asked him to share his thoughts about the intersection of music and activities that many usually ascribe to the domain of social workers.

RELATED: Austin Classical Guitar honors the plight of refugees.

“In music school, in the most wonderful ways, I was taught to refine my musicianship,” Hinsley says. “Most everything at my core today — my work ethic, my sense of authenticity, my appreciation for individual strengths and weaknesses, my tenacity — has its roots in my relationship to guitar and the mentors who shaped me.”

His journey as a public servant through music began 21 years ago in Austin.

“In some ways — the obvious ones — that service grew directly out of my training,” Hinsley says. In other ways — perhaps less obvious — work in service stretched me from the very beginning and has never stopped. Because the myth for many young artists is that if you just get good enough at what you do, the world will come to you and watch you do it. But that notion is rooted in fallacy — because it is rooted in a model of the universe with oneself at the center. And that is not how the universe works.”

He believes that, as a public servant, he most constantly look at his community and ask who is being served and how can they be served better?

“It demands flexibility in every aspect,” he says. “It has led us to realizations that music can heal and engage so many people in such profound ways — but not perhaps the ways we thought we knew. So if it’s developing classroom-based systems for guitar education, or a Braille-adapted curriculum for students at Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired, or the Lullaby Project at Travis County Jail, or musical puppet shows for kids in Austin Public Library branches — we live and flourish in this irony that while the world may not revolve around that which we have, it most certainly can interact in beautiful and mysterious ways with that which we can be.”

So an award from the National Association of Social Workers makes some special sense.

“It represents a vote of confidence that we have at least begun to leverage the great art we are so fortunate to have roots in, toward something that is reaching diverse people in unexpected ways,” Hinsley says. “What excites me most, is that each day when something new happens, we are made aware of just how many more opportunities for meaningful connection there are yet to explore.”

 

Zach Theatre’s ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ has snazzy special effects but somewhat soggy story

Since its release in 1952, the film “Singin’ in the Rain” has gradually gained cultural prestige as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) movie musicals of all time. Its mid-1980s adaptation to the Broadway stage is slightly less heralded but is also perhaps one of the most obvious and effortless translations of a film into a stage musical. Zach Theatre’s new production of the musical is a fun and frolicsome, if somewhat bland, presentation of the classic story.

Contributed by Kirk Tuck

That story follows the silent film-era screen couple Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont as they face the many challenges of transitioning to the talkies, including Lina’s one-sided love for Don, Don’s desire to be taken more seriously as an actor, and Lina’s painfully pitched voice. Into this mix comes Kathy Selden, a young ingénue whom Don quickly falls for and who dubs in for Lina’s voice, invoking the vengeful starlet’s wrath.

The stage version of “Singin’ in the Rain” skews so closely to the original movie that its book is wholly credited to the original screenwriters, Betty Camden and Adolph Green, and its songs to the film’s composer Nacio Herb Brown and lyricist Arthur Freed. Several scenes that were cut from the final film have been added back in to pad the show for time.

RELATED: Bring on the tap dancing for ‘Singin’ in the Rain’

The problem with this is that “Singin’ in the Rain” works so perfectly on film that it can only lose strength in translation. The 103-minute movie, when stretched into a two-act musical, becomes less compactly charming, and the show has a significantly hard time living up to the iconic screen performances of Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor.

Sasha Hutchings and Luke Hawkins star in “Singin’ in the Rain” at Zach Theatre. Contributed by Kirk Tuck

Zach’s production suffers from these unfortunate pitfalls, though not from lack of effort or talent. Luke Hawkins is perfectly charming as Don, and Sasha Hutchings is effervescent as Kathy, but together they don’t quite have the chemistry to make their passion for one another fully believable. Hawkins’ duets with Blake Spellacy, as Don’s best friend and former vaudeville partner Cosmo Brown, have much greater vibrancy.

Fortunately, each of the three leads has their moments to shine. Hutchings’ voice is as gorgeous as her charm is infectious, while Spellacy’s comedic magnetism steals every scene he’s in (and impressively allows him to get big laughs out of jokes that are over a half-century old). Keri Safran, as Lamont, also has some moments of great humor, though she is hobbled by the rather one-note joke of her grating voice. Hawkins, meanwhile, is a prodigiously talented tap dancer, and his performance of the title song is the highlight of the show.

Director Abe Reybold and his design and technical teams create stage magic by making it not only rain on stage but pour down enough to create puddles that choreographer Dominique Kelley has Hawkins play with, in and around. In taking a uniquely filmic moment and translating it to the stage, the team puts together a show-stopping number that closes the first act with a bang (or, as it were, a splash). The complete drying of the stage during intermission is a testament to stage manager Catherine Ann Tucker, assistant stage managers Megan Barrett and Megan Smith, and the rest of the hard-working stage crew.

However, the rest of “Singin’ in the Rain” ends up feeling rather muted compared to this spectacular number. The remainder of the show lacks in excitement even as it remains high in charm and spirit. Though a 65-year-old script holds up well as a classic movie, when translated to the present-day musical stage, it becomes a bit of a drip.

“Singin’ in the Rain”
When: 7:30 Wednesday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 29
Where: 202 S. Lamar Blvd.
Cost: $30-$150
Information: 512-476-0541, zachtheatre.org

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