"They can't make a fool out of Lina Lamont," the ditzy silent-screen star protests in Singin' in the Rain. But Michele Ragusa, who portrayed Lina during a sweltering week at the Muny this past summer, transformed the character into a fool of monumental proportions — which is precisely what needs to be done if a performance is going to reach the free seats. This one did, with curves and swagger to spare. Ragusa could take a simple line like, "And I can't stand him," and turn it into the nasal-congested cry of a banshee. In the musical, set in the late 1920s as silent movies are being pushed aside, Lina's career is clearly on the wane. We can only hope that Ragusa's career is just taking off and that she'll soon return to the Muny to cavort again.
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