After several of false alarms this winter, the snow that continually threatened to make an appearance finally hit us, bringing with it a mixed bag of panic and elation. Now it’s had its fun closing the schools, blocking the roads and sending people slipping and sliding all over the place, the snow has disappeared once again, only to be replaced by rain. These grey, wet days could cause a wealth of misery, but the performers on stage at the Palace Theatre have the right idea: they’re not moping in the rain, they’re singing in it!
The revived production of classic musical Singin’ in the Rain arrived in the West End last year, taking over the former home of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. It was acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, as were its stars: Adam Cooper, Daniel Crossley and Scarlett Strallen. Nothing lasts forever though and now a number of the cast are moving on to pastures new, but when one door closes, another opens, and a whole host of new faces are waiting to walk through it.
Jennifer Ellison will star opposite Adam Cooper, who remains in the principal role of silent movie star ‘Don Lockwood’. She takes over from Katherine Kingsley to play vapid leading lady ‘Lina Lamont’, whose face is more suited to the big screen than her voice. Ellison first became known for her TV role as ‘Emily Shadwick’ in Brookside, but is also a respected musical theatre performer in her own right, having previously starred in such musicals as Legally Blonde, Calendar Girls and Boeing Boeing. She also appeared in the 2004 film adaption of The Phantom of the Opera as ‘Meg Giry’. Speaking about her upcoming role in the show, Ellison said: “Singin in the Rain’ is one of my absolute favourite movie musicals, I watched it a lot growing up. When I saw the show I left with the biggest grin on my face and a huge spring in my step. Playing any West End role is a thrill and a privilege but to be playing Lina Lamont at the Palace Theatre in this show is pretty much as good as it gets.”
Louise Bowden is to play Lockwood’s love interest ‘Kathy Seldon’ who steps in to provide Lina’s voice in her first ‘talkie’. Bowden takes over from Scarlett Strallen, adding the role to her already extensive list which includes roles in such theatrical productions as We Will Rock You, Guys and Dolls, Ragtime and UK tours of Mary Poppins and Mamma Mia!
Stephane Annelli plays Lockwood’s side-kick ‘Cosmo’, replacing Daniel Crossley. He was recently seen in Ragtime and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Open Air Theatre, and further theatre credits include Legally Blonde and Saturday Night Fever.
Continuing in their principal roles are Sandra Dickinson (Dora Bailey) and Miss Dinsmore and Peter Forbes (RF Simpson), while the remainder of the new cast incudes: Mark Hadfield, David Lucas and Frankie Jenna with Karen Aspinall, Emma Caffrey, Matthew Croke, Brendan Cull, Adam Denman, Kelly Ewins-Prouse, Charlene Ford, Olivia Fines, Tim Hodges, Nia Jermin, Peter Le Brun, Matthew Malthouse, Adam Margilewski, Oliver Metzler, Gillian Parkhouse, Joseph Prouse, Charlotte Scott, Zara Warren and Nancy Wei George.
The MGM musical film of Singing’ in the Rain was released in 1952, starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. The stage musical featured songs from the film’s original score alongside new ones created by Nacio Herb Brown (music) and Arthur Freed (lyrics), while the book was written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It was a huge hit, and still is to this day. This latest production features choreography by Andrew Wright.
In a joint statement from the show’s producers, they said this of the cast change: “We are thrilled to welcome our new cast members to the Palace Theatre and looking forward to their first performance next month. It has been a joy to have brought this Chichester Festival Theatre production to the West End where we are delighted to be entering our second year.”
The new company of Singin’ in the Rain take to the stage of the Palace Theatre for their first performance on 18th February 2013.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 29th January 2013