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BENNINGTON — As Cosmo Brown, played by Donald O’Connor, said to Gene Kelly’s Don Lockwood in the movie “Singin’ in the Rain,” “What’s the first thing an actor learns? The show must go on!”

On Friday and Saturday, the MAU Drama Club’s spring show will go on, with a showing of their performance of the classic MGM musical on the lawn of the Park-McCullough Historic Governor’s Mansion.

The stage performance, recorded by CAT-TV, will premiere at dusk on the lawn in an in-person, red-carpet gala event on both evenings. Tickets will be required.

Lynn Sweet, the drama club’s director, said that when the students decided after their April break to put on a spring performance, “Singin’ in the Rain” — which, after all, is a show about performers determined to put on a show — was a natural choice.

Sweet noted that all students have faced challenges during this school year, and that the Drama Club was particularly disappointed not to be able to put on its traditional fall musical, a highlight of the year.

“For many students, the performing arts are what gets them in the door,” Sweet said. “Being involved in the theatre gives students an opportunity to belong, an outlet for creativity and expression, and the skills to collaborate with others to achieve a product in which they can take great pride and that can bring great joy and pride to the school and the community.”

With restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 fundamentally changing the performing arts, the club had a choice: Perform the musical live, outdoors, with minimal light and sound support, or in front of cameras. They ultimately chose the latter, to give them what Sweet called “an authentic production experience in the auditorium” — as well as the last chance for members of the graduating class to perform on that stage.

There were still anti-COVID requirements that had to be met. Singing is particularly problematic; singers must be at least 6 feet apart, and the space in which they sing must be vented every 30 minutes — not a good formula for a romantic duet. The performers rose to the challenge by recording their songs individually, and lip-synching to their own voices for the on-stage performance.

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Clear masks were purchased, so that the actors’ smiles could be seen, and the blue seats of the auditorium were filled with “fanstands” — the faces of the students’ biggest fans, many professionally printed by GVH Inc. or created by members of the MAUHS school community.

Technically speaking, this will be a performance of “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.,” an abridged version of the original. But fear not, favorite musical numbers are included — such as “Good Morning,” in which the three protagonists sing and tap dance their way across the set before collapsing in a heap on an overturned couch.

For those who haven’t seen it, “Singin’ in the Rain” is a romantic comedy set in 1927 Hollywood, with a pair of silent-era stars, Lockwood and Lina Lamont, dealing with the switch to “talking pictures.” Lockwood, weary of being yoked to the egotistical Lamont, befriends Kathy Selden, a talented singer hoping to make it big in the movies. Brown is a composer and comic foil who keeps the plot humming.

The Friday and Saturday productions will not be identical. On Friday night, Emma Denio and Maddie Hopkins will play Selden and Lamont, and on Saturday night, those roles will be played by Madison Tifft and Sloane Rivers.

This is not the Drama Club’s first pandemic-era show. They presented a production of “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a radio show, filmed entirely on Zoom, and they’ve produced student-written, -directed and -acted One Acts, which will soon be released on CAT-TV.

“I did everything I could think of to keep the kids involved and doing something productive and fun,” Sweet said.

“I’m so, so, so excited!”, Carson Gordon, a senior Drama Club member, said about the spring production. “Feels like the world is a little bit whole again!”

In addition to the Park-McCullough premiere, the filmed production can viewed online on Sunday at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. For tickets or streaming passes, visit


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