Jude Kelly's Olivier Award-winning production of Singin' in the Rain will embark on a UK-wide tour in the new year. The musical is back for an extended Christmas run at Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse, where it opens this week and continues to 23 February 2002. The national tour then opens at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre on 27 February and continues until November 2002 to 17 other cities, with further dates expected.

The stage musical is based on the famous 1952 MGM film. Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse, the film features one of the wettest and most used movie clips of all time - a scene which is re-enacted on stage. The stage adaptation (by Betty Comden and Adolf Green) also includes favourite songs (by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed) from the film soundtrack, including "Good Morning", "Make 'em Laugh", "Moses Supposes" and the much-loved title song.

The production premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in December 1999. It had two London runs at the National Theatre last year, when it went on to win the 2001 Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production. Singin' in the Rain is directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director Kelly, who announced earlier this month that she will be leaving the theatre at the end of next year, after more than a decade in the job.

The silver screen was never the same after silent films gave way to the talkies. Stars who had enchanted millions without saying a word were suddenly forced to find a voice. And if they could talk, why not have them sing and dance? Set in 1930s Los Angeles, Singin' in the Rain is the story of the making of the first Hollywood musical in which silent star Lina Lamont is struggling to overcome the restrictions of her horrible voice.

The cast for the tour will include Darren Bennett (as Don Lockwood), Richard Brightiff (Cosmo Brown), Cheryl McAvoy (Kathy Seldon) and Jacqui Rae (Lina Lamont). The production is choreographed by Stephen Mear and designed by Huntley Muir with musical direction by Mark W Dorrell and water effects by Mario Borza. The tour is presented by David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment.

Following Birmingham, Singin' in the Rain visits Sunderland, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Stoke, Southampton, Bristol, Oxford, Manchester, Plymouth, Eastbourne, Woking, High Wycombe, Aberdeen, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Milton Keynes, with further dates expected from November 2002.

- by Terri Paddock