© Times-Herald photo by Lisa Goudy
(From left) Geoffrey Tyler (Don Lockwood), Jay T. Schramek (Cosmo) and Evie Koop Sawatzky (director and conductor) strike a pose at the RuBarb Productions box office on July 15, 2014.
Jay T. Schramek was blown away when he met and tap-danced on stage with Donald O’Connor, who played Cosmo in the 1952 film, Singin' in the Rain.
Jay T. Schramek was blown away when he met and tap-danced on stage with Donald O’Connor, who played Cosmo in Singin’ in the Rain 1952 film.
“It’s the only time ever in my life I was ever actually star struck,” he said. “I got him to autograph my tap shoes. So I was pretty blessed.”
Now Schramek will be playing Cosmo in RuBarb Productions’ upcoming production of the musical. It will run from July 31 to Aug. 17 at the Mae Wilson Theatre at the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.
“Watching this movie or seeing this show live inspired generations of performers to become performers,” said Schramek, who also is doing the choreography for the show. “It’s that kind of show that, because it’s timeless and because there are aspects of the show that appeal to all generations, it’s one of those things that just hooks people in for life.”
The show, directed and conducted by RuBarb Productions’ artistic director Evie Koop Sawatzky, also stars Geoffrey Tyler as Don Lockwood, Jennifer Stewart as Kathy Selden and Aubree Erickson as Lina Lamont. The musical director is Michael Barber.
Sawatzky said rehearsals are ongoing six days a week. Schramek, who is from Kitchener but lives in Toronto, and Tyler, who is from Toronto, have never performed in Saskatchewan before. Schramek, Tyler, Stewart and Barber have worked together at the Stratford Festival in 2012.
“When I saw Evie was doing this production, I was like, ‘I have to reach out to her,’” said Schramek. “Not only it is a classic that people know and love, but the subject matter really speaks to issues or universal truths that everyone can identify with.
“This is about technology making people and lives obsolete and changing people. We see that so often with emerging technologies and multimedia.”
He cited an example of Blockbuster, which used to be a hub for renting movies. Now the company is essentially no longer in business because people go online to get their content.
“This is one of my favourite movies,” said Tyler. “The nice thing is you’re going get to people who also share that. You’re going to get that live. We’re going to be singing all the songs live. We’re going to be doing all the dancing and we have a live orchestra.
“It’s not like the movie, but it’s the spirit of the movie that’s going to come alive for people. For me who grew up watching the film and it inspired me, it’s just so exciting to do all of this stuff live.”
Both actors echoed their sentiment at having the luxury of having four weeks of rehearsal time as it involves a lot of different elements such as filmic, special effects, singing, dancing and acting.
“It’s actually going to rain on stage,” said Schramek. “Making all that magic happen to ensure that the same elements that attracted so many generations to this show in the past continue to be attracted.”
“I’ve been very lucky to sing, dance and act throughout my career and I find when I’m doing one more than the other, I miss the others, but the great thing is you get to do all of it here,” added Tyler.
“That gets rarer actually with a lot of music theatre these days. It’s very compartmentalized and very specialized in a lot of ways, but those old movies, the way you get to do really all of them, that’s exciting.”
For more information on times, dates, show times or to get tickets, contact RuBarb at 306-693-1771, go to their website at rubarbproductions.com or stop by the box office at 321 Main St. N.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.