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Where there’s rain, there’s laughter

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Christina Stock Photo Sandra Garnett meets fans after her performance as Lina Lamont in Friday’s premiere of “Singin’ in the Rain” by Way Way Off Broadway Theatre Company. It was Garnett’s first time on stage. “I am so glad I found them (WWOB),” she said. Garnett received standing ovations for her portrayal of the voice-handicapped silent movie star, Lina Lamont.

Last Friday’s premier of Way Way Off Broadway Theatre Company’s production of the classic musical “Singin’ in the Rain” played in front of true theater fans.

Everybody wanted to see how set designer Tony Souza would bring in the rain without soaking the stage and the audience. Sure enough, the only ones getting soaked were the actors who were walking and singing in the rain.

After the performance, Kyle Bullock — whose performance as Cosmo Brown stole the show — thanked Brian Cole of Culligan Water for working with Tony Souza putting in the special pipes, the pump system that would catch the rain over and over again, and creating the custom-made special effects.

The performance went over flawlessly with many surprises that brought fierce belly-laughter from the audience, who were hooting and hollering at the impeccably timed slapstick scenes.

Director Summer Souza was able to teach the entire ensemble to tap dance on a professional level, something the Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Performing Arts Center has never seen before.

The four main characters, Kathy Seldon, played by Devon Bullock, Cosmo Brown, played by Kyle Bullock, Lina Lamont, played by Sandra Garnett and Don Lockwood, played by Tony Souza, worked well together. The athleticism of Tony Souza and Kyle Bullock showed style that was worthy of the original cast, Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.

In the iconic dance scenes Devon Bullock outshined her male counterparts, but a true surprise was the fearless performance of Sandra Garnett. Garnett said that this was her first performance. Her comedic timing and voice carried large parts of the show and found its peak in her solo song, “What’s Wrong With Me?”

The musical showed the finest talent of the Way Way Off Broadway Theatre Company’s team with music direction by Cydni Vandiver and Janet Macaluso; directing and choreography by Summer Souza and her assistant Gail Willden; and set art and decoration by Michele Massey, who also performed as Hollywood reporter Dora Bailey. John Bitner assisted with the lighting.

“You can expect new effects with our new lighting, which Xcel Energy is sponsoring,” Kyle Bullock said. Xcel Energy gave away LED Christmas lights at the end of the show.

In this colorful show, Jan Smith’s costume design brought old Hollywood back to life. She had help in Casey Bedford, Nancy Hein and Cathy Knight. Hair and makeup design were in the hands of Tarra Morgan and her assistants from the Olympian Academy.

The public has only this weekend to see “Singin’ in the Rain” with performances on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

A special treat awaits those who arrive earlier. The students of Broadway Bound Kids are performing a medley of dances and songs before the actual show.

For more information, visit waywayoffbroadway.com or call 575-317-0157.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.