Forecast Calls for a Glorious Feeling


Annabelle Waterman

Junior Julia Bolla beams as the audience after making a grand entrance. Her character Kathy Seldon smiled throughout her preformance.

Annabelle Waterman and Riley Vining

What a glorious feeling it was, sitting in the front row of the balcony in Grand Haven High School’s Performing Arts Center for our theater production of “Singin’ in the Rain”. I was happy again. It had me whistling and clicking my heels all the way to my car during the largest snowstorm to hit Grand Haven this school year.


“Singin’ In the Rain”, the beloved 1950s musical is set in the 20s during the transition from silent films to “talkies.” The beloved actor Don Lockwood and his co-star Lina Lamont struggle to maintain their reputation because of Lina’s “unique” voice. Enter Kathy Seldon who fills in for Lina’s voice, unbeknownst to Ms. Lamont. It’s a romance, it’s a comedy, it’s everything you could want. 


In specific, the casting was superb. Senior Brendan Howard as Don Lockwood could not have been a more perfect fit. Howard’s dedication to the role was exemplary. Not many actors can continue a scene with their pants falling down. His outgoing personality mirrored Don Lockwood perfectly. From Junior Julia Bolla as Kathy Seldon to Senior Kyle Penland as the diction teacher, the rest of the cast fit their roles just the same.


Speaking of the cast, they were phenomenal. Unlike Lina, they can sing, they can act, and they can dance. They’re a triple threat, especially Junior Nora Jacobson. 


Her stellar performance as, ironically, Lina Lamont tied the show together in a way that I didn’t think was possible from a high school actress. She sets a new bar for cast members in every following production. It’s a pity we couldn’t hear her sing without the terrible Brooklyn accent because even with it the power of her voice had me enthralled. 


In addition, the dancing throughout the production was a beauty to behold. It takes years for Broadway actors and actresses to master tap. The GHHS cast only had three months. It wasn’t perfect, with a couple of miss-steps here and there, but the overall effect was extraordinary. One of the things that I think will go down in history along with this musical is the feathery steps of both lead actors Senior Cayden Smaka and Howard.


Credit goes to Julie Kieft for the choreography. It really added to the whole experience and the timing. I especially enjoyed the physical comedy throughout the show, it was a raucous, but not overly so.


If, as Cosmo says, big people have small humor, and small people have no humor at all, the cast had to be made up of proverbial giants. I couldn’t contain myself. The entire show was laugh-out-loud funny, especially Smaka as Cosmo. The musical number “Make Em’ Laugh” not only had me squealing with glee, but also left me gasping for air with tears in my eyes throughout the entire scene. 


Not to mention the set design. It was just as incredible as the acting and comedy. From the backdrops to the sound booth, you could see all the laborious work put in to make every aspect fit seamlessly together. Every scene had intricate details and props that really pulled the show together like the mannequin in “Make Em’ Laugh” or the microphone boutonniere they pinned on Lina while shooting the studio’s first “talkie”. For goodness sake, they made it rain on stage.


All in all, I had a wonderful time (as I always do). Nothing makes me feel quite like I do when I’m in the GHHS Performing Arts Center. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling that builds with every perfect imperfection. That’s something you don’t get on Broadway or up on the silver screen, and I know for a fact, that I’ll be at the next production and the one after that.