‘Rain’ delay: Pittsburgh plan for Gene Kelly statue on hold

From Associated Press

Organizers of a project to memorialize Pittsburgh’s native son Gene Kelly haven’t had much to sing about in more than a year.

A plan to put up a statue of the choreographer, director and actor most beloved for the film “Singin’ in the Rain” has been on hold since late 2002. Kelly’s widow has also yet to give the necessary approval.

The Gene Kelly Statue Project hasn’t heard from Patricia Ward Kelly, who lives in Los Angeles, in more than a year, said Aviva Radbord, co-founder of the project.

“We’re prepared to continue our work, but we have heard rumors that she has decided to do something on her own,” Radbord said. “We’re in the dark.”

Kelly didn’t respond to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s requests for an interview.

There were arguments about the location and design of the project, announced in 2001 as a tribute to Gene Kelly, who died in 1996 at age 83.

Radbord said Patricia Ward Kelly initially met with the sculptor and saw the proposed design of Gene Kelly twirling on a lamppost -- a scene from “Singin’ in the Rain.” The sculpture was to spout water to re-create the movie scene, and Kelly approved placing it at a downtown traffic intersection.

Critics, including members of the arts community, objected to the location. They questioned whether people could visit it in the middle of a busy intersection.

Radbord said that organizers haven’t raised the $500,000 needed for the project and that the arts community has grown skeptical.

“I don’t think there’s a project to head up at this point,” said Van Kaplan, executive producer of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera.