Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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The Alexandra Stage Experience - Singin in the Rain.

Singin' in the Rain
The Alexandra Stage Experience, Birmingham

It's the 16th summer that The Alexandra in Birmingham has invited the young, local talent of the West Midlands to perform on their stage. They have invited over 2000 young performers over the years and have captured the audiences with their exceptional level of talent. Not only is there the performers on stage but they also offer technical placements in sound, lighting, stage management and wardrobe. The theatre's Stage Experience is a fantastic opportunity for young people to be inspired and learn new skills that will better their chances in a professional world going forwards. Some of their previous attendees to the opportunity have ended up in well-renowned productions around the UK and even comedian Joe Lycett stood in the same wings as this year's group. 

This year they have taken the challenge of performing a classic musical, Singin in the Rain

The iconic musical from 1952 takes us through a moment in Hollywood history back in the late 1920s, when silent pictures were giving away to talkies, a film with a soundtrack. It's a perfect snapshot of history and incorporates milestones like The Jazz Singer, the first talkie to ever exist. Of course, Singin in the Rain also has the added bonus of iconic choreography from Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. A duo which has inspired so many young performers still to this day. 

Did you know that although many movie musicals of the 1930s, '40s and '50s were based on stage shows which already existed, this wasn't one of them. It was, in fact, a completely new script, written just for the movie and featured old songs written for previous movies. It wasn't until after the film became a beloved classic with many some 30 years later that it became a stage musical. It premiered in London's West End in 1983 and also headed to Broadway too. 

60 years later the film still reaches the critical lists of the top 10 movies of all time, unusual for a musical but it has most definitely stood the test of time.

This production of Singin' in the Rain is heartwarming from start to finish and they have executed their hard work well. All of the young performers on and off the stage play their part in putting on such a fantastic production on this scale - you wouldn't believe some of them were so young with their natural professionalism. 

Taking the lead as Don Lockwood is Ben Tanner, an incredibly talented young man who managed to take on the leading character and juggle with difficult choreography too. Sam Rogers had the audience in roars of laughter in his excellent rendition of Make 'Em Laugh. Know for its extreme physical difficulty, featuring dozens of jumps, tricks and pratfalls, Rogers does a great job in keeping up with the tempo of it all. Actor Donald O'Connor who originally performed the song in the film was bedridden for several days after filming the sequence - but Sam Rogers looked at ease after this number and got straight into the next scenes. 

There were also fantastic vocal ranges in the young ladies of the cast, particularly Abby Hammond who played Dora Bailey and Jess Walton who took on the love to hate character Lina Lamont - although I felt for her having to nail a difficult vocal range.

One of the stand out performances for me was from Jack Smyth. He performed the song Beautiful Girl so beautifully you wouldn't believe this was his first time performing with Stage Experience. He's off to BOA in September and I'm genuinely excited for this young man to flourish in the upcoming years.

The choreography in Singin in the Rain is iconic and choreographer Pollyann Tanner has managed to really embrace the dance styles from the film. They hit the nail on the head with the Flappers and Tap choreography that my own tapping feet couldn't stop doing the steps in my seat (get me back to tap class in September already!)

All in all, you wouldn't believe that this show was created in a two-week period because it's superb from start to finish! The Alexandra has done a fantastic job in collaborating with the young talent of the West Midlands to provide an opportunity like no other. 

If you are interested in getting involved with the 2020 production of Fame! next year then I'd keep an eye on the Alexandra Theatre's Facebook page to find out more! 


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