Michael LaMasa dons the fedora, trench coat and an umbrella as he splashes his way through the stage version of the classic Hollywood film “Singin’ in the Rain.”
LaMasa portrays fictional silent film star Don Lockwood, played in the movie by the legendary Gene Kelly. But don’t expect an imitation of the famous actor and hoofer.
“I’m not playing (Kelly) but Don Lockwood because he’s the character, so I have to bring that out in my performance because it’s already big shoes to fill,” LaMasa said.
The musical, which opens Friday at Arizona Broadway Theatre, will feature rain live on the stage. LaMasa can’t wait to slosh around in the water.
“It’s going to be a unique moment for me, being a big kid jumping in puddles,” he said. “This will be nothing but pure joy every night I’m out there.”
Joseph Martinez, director of “Singin’ in the Rain,” said the musical closely adheres the original film, which also starred Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds.
“This show is an homage to the movie with some great iconic moments,” Martinez said.
Set in Hollywood at the end of the silent screen era, “Singin’ in the Rain” focuses on romantic lead Lockwood, his friend Cosmo Brown, actress Kathy Seldon and his leading lady Lina LaMont, whose voice doesn’t make her candidate to transition into talking films. Seldon is brought in to dub LaMont’s voice for the film.
In 1983, the stage adaptation debuted on the West End in London, then went to Broadway a couple of years later and received two Tony Award nominations.
But it’s the film that exposed LaMasa to the world of dance.
“I’ve always been in love with the movie because it was the first film that really made me want to learn how to dance,” he said.
Martinez said the dancing is extravagant and really challenges the cast, especially LaMasa, who is in almost every major dance number in the show.
When he put on his costume during the publicity shoot for “Singin’ in the Rain” and got wet, LaMasa said he was overcome with joy that he’s about to take on one of his favorite movie roles.
“A wonderful emotion came over me, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to be right here,” LaMasa said.