COLUMBUS — Pulling on his lapels, Alex Brandenburg gave his shoulders a shrug. “I feel pretty snazzy,” he said.
Brandenburg and fellow Columbus Middle School student Gage Schmidt were dressed to the nines in suits and ties for their parts in the upcoming school production of “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.”
They were ready to hit the stage for Tuesday’s rehearsal while waiting for the rest of the cast to get decked out in 1920s clothing and hairstyles and a bit of stage makeup.
Regan DeBower said the musical highlights a lot of the strengths for the young performers.
“This year’s cast is perfect for this one. There are so many funny people and it just comes naturally to most of us,” said DeBower, who plays singer and dancer Kathy Seldon, who falls for Schmidt’s character Don Lockwood.
Schmidt describes Lockwood as a bit arrogant before softening as the show progresses.
“I like how he transitions from being cocky to kind of humble,” he said.
In the musical, Lockwood and Lina Lamont are silent film stars trying to make the jump to talking pictures. One major problem threatening the transition is Lamont’s voice, which is obnoxious, to say the least. Her career could be in jeopardy without her voice being dubbed.
CMS student Sophia Higginbotham said it took her about a month to come up with the high-pitched, grating voice of Lamont.
The middle school production of “Singin’ in the Rain” is based on the 1952 motion picture and features songs and dance numbers, just like the movie. There are 60 students in the cast and crew and another 65 are part of the set construction and publicity teams, according to director Celeste Ditter. The musical is sponsored by the Communities Together Can After School Program.
As a newcomer to musicals, Brandenburg, who plays Cosmo Brown, said learning dance moves was the most-difficult part of the role for him.
“I’ve never been in a musical before so this is kind of a first for me. I felt like this would be a great experience before heading into to high school and getting the chance to hang out with new people and friends,” he said.