Tri-City grads make a splash in Singin' in the Rain

30th anniversary show features Tessa Trach, Blake Sartin

Two Tri-City high school graduates will lead the Royal City Musical Theatre (RCMT) cast next month through two dozen songs and dance numbers in Singin’ in the Rain.

Tessa Trach, an alumna of Centennial secondary in Coquitlam, plays Kathy Selden — the role made famous by Debbie Reynolds in the screen version — while Terry Fox secondary grad Blake Sartin stars as the goofy friend and vaudevillian Cosmo Brown.

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Both performers said they specifically auditioned for the roles, which were chosen by RCMT veteran Valerie Easton, a Port Coquitlam resident who directed and choreographed the 25 actors for the 30th anniversary special that runs April 4 to 20.

Trach, who last performed with RCMT in 2008 as a Jet girl in West Side Story and trained with the Tri-City Dance Centre in Coquitlam, said she’s likes that her character gets to show off her steps "because there’s not a lot of roles out there like that.”

Though she studied classical voice at Capilano University, Trach switched to musical theatre after seeing Wicked in London, England. Since then, she’s received her bachelor of performing arts degree and appeared in productions in Alberta and B.C. including at the Chemainus Theatre, where she played Marty in Grease (its assistant choreographer was Gleneagle secondary grad Lyndsey Britten, who also has a part in Singin’ in the Rain).

In the show, Trach’s character of Kathy is recruited by silent film star Don Lockwood (played by Gene Kelly in the 1952 film) to sing the tunes for his leading lady, Lina Lamont, in their next movie. As a result, Kathy’s pipes can be heard in several tracks including Good Morning, You Are My Lucky Star and Would You?

But while Trach is thrilled to perform the hits, the Vancouver resident said she struggles with how Kathy is portrayed. Though the plot is set in the 1920s, “there’s a lot of times where she doesn’t have a voice in discussions. A lot of times Don takes on the role of telling it like it is and explaining things and I’ve been trying to figure out why Kathy doesn’t speak up.”

Still, Trach said she lets loose when Kathy’s given a scene to stand her ground and “I think bringing that — for all the times where she can’t — is really helpful.”

For Sartin, the Cap U musical theatre grad is making his RCMT debut; however, he’s no stranger to the stage having been in three Theatre Under the Stars productions at Stanley Park: Hairspray, 42nd Street and The Drowsy Chaperone.

A Port Coquitlam resident, Sartin said the RCMT’s edition of Singin’ in the Rain is similar to the MGM film but with more songs “and a lot of tap dancing.”

“It’s kind of a classic movie that’s been in a lot of people’s lives over the years,” he said. “It’s nostalgic and funny and pretty true to the era.”

Meanwhile, it’s Easton’s second round for Singin’ in the Rain “and I find myself loving it again,” she said in a news release. “It is always light-hearted and fun. I get to not only direct but also put my choreographic signature on some of the most iconic tap dance numbers with a remarkably talented cast.”

Other Tri-City actors in Singin’ in the Rain are: Peter Stainton, Wilson Fowlie, Callie Anderson, Quinlan Koebel-Pearce and Danica Kobayashi. Musical direction is by James Bryson, a retired teacher from School District 43.

For tickets, call 604-521-5050 or visit ticketsnw.ca. The show runs at the Massey Theatre (735 8th Ave, New Westminster).

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