By Pat Craig
Posted: 01/29/2013 10:32:05 AM PST
Updated: 01/30/2013 08:06:37 AM PST
Once upon a time, I wandered into a Vegas off-strip casino owned by Debbie Reynolds, and found myself in a corridor that contained the entrance to the showroom and a collection of artifacts belonging to Reynolds and other celebrities.
The place was quiet as death. The only people there were a woman maybe 100 feet away standing in front of the main door to the showroom and me. I was caught up in the displays, movie stuff, including items from “Singin’ in the Rain.” Among these was that iconic photo of Gene Kelly, Reynolds and Donald O’Connor strolling beneath umbrellas.
“Kathy Selden,” I muttered, staring at the character Reynolds played.
“Hmmmm,” said the woman, now, obviously, within earshot.
“Oh, I just said Kathy, uh, you’re Deb, uh. …” The casino owner smiled — Kathy Selden, plus a few years, was standing in front of me.
“You coming to the show?” Reynolds asked. “You’ll like it.”
I explained in my halting but charming way that I had to meet friends, and, um. …
Anyway, that was my experience with the woman who played Kathy Selden, and Feb. 8 I’ll reconnect with a real, live “Singin’ in the Rain” when I see Melissa WolfKlain as Selden, along with Keith Pinto as movie star Don Lockwood, Ryan Drummond as Cosmo Brown, Don’s sidekick, and Mary Kalita as Lina Lamont, Don’s co-star and a big, dumb stumbling block between Don and true romance with Kathy.
It’s a classic Hollywood-style romance, set at the end of the silent movie era, which is going to do away with Lina’s career, due to her squeaky voice. So she tries to salvage as much as she can by undermining Selden.
This all happens around the fun Kathy, Cosmo and Don have tearing Hollywood apart with their antics — ranging from Kathy’s singing and Cosmo’s clowning to Don’s crooning and romancing, as well as his attempts to let Lina down gently. The piece is filled with delightful songs, including, “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Good Morning” and “Make ‘Em Laugh.”
Diablo Theatre Company’s production of the musical will be staged at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts through March 2. Tickets, at $49-$53, may be reserved at 925-943-7469 or www.lesherartscenter.org.