Directed by Paul Kerryson - artistic director of the Leicester Haymarket, which is co-producing despite being closed since last July (See News, 20 May 2003) - Singin’ in the Rain will have a limited season at London’s Sadler’s Wells from 3 August to 4 September 2004 (previews from 29 July), before transferring to Leicester from 9 September to reopen the Haymarket.
The stage musical is based on the famous 1952 MGM film, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse. Set in 1920s Los Angeles, Singin’ in the Rain tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making of the first movie musical, in which silent screen star Lina Lamont struggles to overcome the restrictions of her horrible voice. Cooper plays Lamont’s co-star Don Lockwood (immortalised by Kelly on screen), who meets and falls in love with the girl-next-door with the beautiful voice.
This new production of Singin’ in the Rain is not to be confused with the 1999 revival presented at Leeds’ West Yorkshire Playhouse, which went on to two London runs at the National Theatre and the 2001 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production.
A former principal with the Royal Ballet, Cooper rose to popular prominence as the lead Swan in Matthew Bourne's male Swan Lake for Adventures in Motion Pictures, which won him the Time Out and Evening Standard Awards for Best Dance Performance. His other credits include Cinderella for AMP and Elegy for Two for Images of Dance. On film, he appeared briefly as the adult Billy - again playing the Swan - in the award-winning 2000 hit Billy Elliot.
Earlier this year, he won two National Dance Awards - Best Choreography (Musical Theatre) and the Audience Award for performance – for the run of Rodgers and Hart’s On Your Toes at London’s Royal Festival Hall (See News, 14 Jan 2004).
- by Terri Paddock