Young song and dance

CLASSIC: William Parker rehearsing the title song in Singin’ in the Rain JR. Photo by Jo Roberts.THE list of popular musicals adapted for performance by young entertainers is growing, with two of the latest, Singin’ in the Rain JR and Legally Blonde:The Musical JR, being staged by Newcastle theatre groups in the July school holidays.
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Singin’ in the Rain JR will be presented by Hunter Drama at St. Phillip’s Christian College Theatre and Legally Blonde: The Musical JR by Pantseat Productions at the Civic Playhouse.

The shortening of the musicals tests the performers, aged 18 and under, as they have to get the story across to audiences through acting, song and dance in running times of 60 to 70 minutes.

Singin’ in the Rain, adapted from a classic film musical, is set in Hollywood in the 1920s, when the success of the first film with recorded sound, The Jazz Singer, led studios to include dialogue in movies they were making. In the musical, officials at one studio decide to dub the squeaky voice of attractive Lina Lamont with that of would-be actor Kathy Selden. Kathy finds herself working with leading man, Don Lockwood, who had offended her in a street encounter.

Sophie Carmody, who plays Kathy, said she is a strong person, but one who also can show a soft spot. The musical’s Don, William Parker, said the character’s dancing delivery of the title number while using an umbrella to shelter Kathy from rain is challenging but fun.

Singin’ in the Rain JR, directed by Drew Holmes, has performances at St. Phillip’s Christian College Theatre, Waratah, nightly at 7.30pm from Wednesday, July 5, to Saturday, July 8, plus 2pm Friday and Saturday matinees. Tickets: $33, concession $25. Bookings: tickets.spcc.nsw.edu.au.

Legally Blonde shows the challenges faced by a young woman, Elle Woods, when she talks her way into a legal studies course at Harvard University after her boyfriend, who is enrolling in the course, leaves her, asserting she’s not “serious’ enough”. Elle befriends a fellow classmate, Emmett, who worked hard to get into the course, and in her final year amusingly demonstrates her legal skills as a lawyer’s assistant in a trial.

Jordan Warner, who plays Elle, said she believes in herself and gets ahead by doing the right things. And the numbers, including the amusing Bend and Snap, will have audiences with smiles on their faces. Theo Williams, the show’s Emmett, said he’s a loving and tender character who, like Elle, is very different to most of the other students.

Legally Blonde: The Musical JR, directed by Kimberley Dingle, has performances at the Civic Playhouse on Thursday and Friday, July 6 and 7, at 12pm and 7pm, and on Saturday, July 8, at 2pm and 7pm.

Tickets: $26.55. Bookings: 4929 1977.

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