Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Bowsher to use real rain in production of musical

Show to be very technically elaborate


Brent Schermbeck, 15, left, Tori Treadaway, 16, center, and Shawn Giffin, 18, right, pereform ‘Good Morning’ during a run-through of Bowsher High School’s production of ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’

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Toledo’s fickle weather can be a challenge to predict, but one forecast is nearly a lock: There will be brief rain showers at Bowsher High School six times this weekend.

Inside the auditorium, that is.

As part of the school’s production of the musical Singin’ in the Rain — a show its producers say will be the most technically elaborate in Bowsher history — there are to be two rain showers using real water: one at the end of the first act, the other at the grand finale. Theatrical haze and fog will enhance the effect, making the rain appear deeper even though it will fall only in a single line across the stage, producer Scott McGorty said.

The show, whose plot revolves around a 1920s movie-production company, also features movie footage shot in advance, using the high-school cast, a wide range of lighting effects, and 300 costumes and costume accessories. A 20-piece orchestra, with a mix of student and professional musicians, will play the show’s music.

“At the high-school level, this is a technically challenging show and is providing our students with awesome opportunities to see what the film industry and Broadway productions are like,” said Mr. McGorty, a 2010 Bowsher graduate and current University of Toledo theater major who has been involved, with one exception, in every show at the school since 2006.

“I’m happy about this. It’s really good,” said Valencia Stokes, a Bowsher sophomore in charge of the show’s sound board who hopes to go into film-making someday. Singin’ in the Rain, she said, “will teach me discipline — I’ll know what I’m doing.”

To do the rain scene, the show’s organizers ordered a custom-made tarp, costing more than $500, that will drain off the water.

“We have to protect the flooring, and we can’t get the curtains or the lights wet,” Mr. McGorty said.

What will get wet are many of the show’s costumes, including two worn, at different times in the show, by Shawn Giffin, who plays Don Lockwood — the male lead role that belonged to Gene Kelly in the famous movie. Shawn, a Bowsher senior, dances alone in the rain at the first act’s end, then will be in the row that gets wet during the finale.

Fans will blow on the wet clothes all night to dry them out for the next day’s show, Mr. McGorty said.

The rain tarp’s delivery is scheduled for today. If using “real” rain doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, Mr. McGorty said, the fall-back will be to use rice.

“We’ve never had anything falling from the sky” at a Bowsher production, said Jason Jones, a 2002 graduate who is the show’s technical director.

Singin’ in the Rain performances will start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15, with a $3 discount for seniors 65 and older, high school or younger students with identification, and preschool children.

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