Event—Adult Education

Reality and Illusion in Singin' in the Rain


We all know and love the classic “Singin’ in the Rain.” In this class, you’ll learn more about the making of this film and how it treats reality and illusion.

Poster for the American theatrical run of the 1952 musical film Singin' in the Rain. Source: "Copyright 1952 Loew's Incorporated", Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

“You’re nothing but a shadow on film. You’re not flesh and blood”—so says Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) to Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) in the classic musical, Singin’ in the Rain. This class offers an exploration of the film’s playful yet thoughtful treatment of reality and illusion.

Learn about the making of the film’s memorable scenes, the double history of its musical numbers, the film’s own use of cinematic illusions, and its wry view of the movie business as silent film gave way to talkies. 

Steven J. Venturino, PhD, the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, has led classes at the Newberry Library and taught at Loyola University Chicago.

Materials List


  • In advance of the session please watch Singin’ in the Rain (1952, 103 mins), Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly. The film is available for streaming at Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Watch TCM, Google Play, and other platforms, and on DVD.

Cost and Registration

One session, $100 ($90 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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