To many students’ dismay, Debbie Reynolds, who starred in the 1952 film “Singing in the Rain,” will not be attending the Romantic Comedies CCA this weekend, but, to the joy of many musical-lovers, Mitzi Gaynor will be speaking in her place.
Tim Caspar, director of the Center for Constructive Alternatives, said Reynolds will not be able to attend because of illness. While it’s not life-threatening, her doctor advised that she stay at home.
Sophomore Matalyn Vander Bleek said she was very sad Reynolds would not be attending.
“I don’t get to meet a figure that was really important in my childhood,” Vander Bleek said. “She was the voice of Charlotte in ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ Cathy from ‘Singing in the Rain,’ and now my dreams of reenacting scenes with her are totally dashed. And she got to kiss Gene Kelly, and he’s the man.”
Caspar said Reynolds expressed her apologies.
“She was very sorry she could not come, but was very helpful in suggesting Mitzi Gaynor to us,” Caspar said. “So she put us in contact with Mitzi Gaynor and her staff, and she graciously agreed to come and to speak for us.”
Gaynor will be speaking about the movie “South Pacific,” in which she starred.
While the CCA speakers are planned months in advance, sometimes the CCA office does have to face cancellations.
“It’s pretty rare to have speakers cancel, but it does happen. Maybe it’s once every couple years. Usually it’s on short notice, like a flight was cancelled or a speaker fell ill, so we can’t really find someone within 24 hours.”
The CCA office first decides what topics would be interesting, and then, after some research, decides which speakers they should invite.
“By doing some research and reading around on things, we might find some people who would be good on the topics, but not everyone’s available,” Caspar said. “When the program is set and in place you don’t really think about replacements. After that, we might go back to our list, or if there’s time, we might try to go back to find new ones.”