There are a lot of different kinds of snobs. There are clothes snobs that scoff at anything bought at TJ Max. There are wine snobs that look down on anyone that drinks White Zinfandel. There are jazz snobs, coffee snobs, classical music snobs, movie snobs, and beer snobs. There are also people that just know what they like.
I don’t know much about coffee, but if I have a cup I can tell you if I like it or not. I couldn’t tell you how it was brewed, whether or not it was freshly ground, or what country it came from. I feel the same way about theater. I’m no theater expert, but I know what I like.
Tonight I went to see “Singing in the Rain.” It was produced by the Vermillion Players. It was a cast of mostly high school students from in and around Pontiac. I don’t know what a theater critic would have to say, but I thought that it was excellent. It was the best $16 my family has spent on entertainment in a long time. I don’t know what directors do, and I don’t know how to differentiate between good and bad directing. I know that I enjoyed this show, so as far as I’m concerned, Director Tom Ramseyer did a great job.
I laughed out loud several times, and even let out a couple of “whoops,” during the great dance numbers. My two year old daughter was captivated. Every time the lead female, Carrie Chandler, left the stage, she wondered “Where’d Kathy go?” Afterwards, we were able to see her off stage, and my daughter started to cry when we had to leave.
The two male leads, John Ramseyer (Don Lockwood) and Donnie Sartoris (Cosmo Brown) were great. They were both excellent singers, but what set them apart from any other comparable production was their acting and dancing. They had several dance numbers that were full of energy and some acrobatic moves. When I found out that neither of them had any tap dancing experience before they started the show, I was shocked.
Their acting scenes were great too. The two played best friends, and their chemistry was great. Most actors in musical theater that I have seen were not cast because of their acting abilities. Most acting in musicals is over-the-top and a little schmaltzy. John and Donnie interacted with authenticity and sincerity, and Donnie is a natural in physical comedy.
Some of the other actors with lesser parts were also impressive. Dylan Webster sang only, “Beautiful Girls,” but was probably the best singer in the cast. Sam Alsdorf was a great comic foil to “Don,” and “Cosmo,” in the “Moses Supposes” number. Jason Williams was a featured dancer, and I wish they had featured him more because he is very talented. Kallie Setterlund, who played Lena Lamont, had a great performance. Her falsetto voice and facial expressions were spot on. She had the most outrageous character, and she nailed it.
The pit did a great job too. The music was first-rate. And this is why community theater is so cool – I bumped into a friend, Lon Alderman, who was playing lead trumpet. He is a fellow United Methodist pastor, and has a very nice blog that I read called “The Daily Build Up.”
Overall, it was a wonderfully entertaining evening. On an evening that Iwas worn out, and could have easily decided to stay home, I am glad we chose to go and see the Vermillion Players. It was well worth it.