Leon Willey (Don Lockwood

Chemainus Theatre’s next production will have you singin’ in your seats

The musical Singin' In The Rain comes to the Chemainus Theatre Festival June 14 to Aug. 25.

There’ll be a load of hoofin’ happenin’ in Chemainus Theatre Festival’s next musical romp, Singin’ In The Rain.

Some of the fancy footwork comes courtesy of Leon Willey cast as Don Lockwood — the rain-soaked role made legendary by Gene Kelly in MGM’s 1952 hit movie.

Willey will be opposite Rachel Harrison as girlfriend Kathy Selden, and Jonathan Purvis as pal Cosmo Brown, in an adaptation directed by choreographer Tracey Power.

He is also wild about his newest theatre gig because he will be sharing the stage with his professional-dancer wife, Krista Konkin, who plays a movie exec’s gal-Friday. That’s the same stage the couple met in 2007 during CTF’s production Anything Goes.

It’s all come full circle for the 36-year-old Moose Jaw-based actor, who also appeared in the theatre’s farce Noises Off, and longed for a role like Lockwood.

“The biggest excitement I have is to tell this kind of story.

“The basis is there’s a group of silent-movie actors making the leap into talkies. Like silent stars back then, some didn’t make the leap very well as their voice was terrible, or they couldn’t speak English very well.”

That situation gives way to a love story, he explained.

Lockwood tires of performing with fading silent-era actress Lina Lamont (Emma Slipp) “when he meets a feisty, together girl named Kathy and he’s taken aback.”

“It’s the first time Don’s ever been challenged by a woman in that way,” Willey said of the show-biz bonanza.

“He falls madly in love — not only do I get to sing and dance with Kathy, but I also have these lovely scenes.”

Toss in a mob of movie-making characters, plus Steven Greenfield’s onstage musicians, and Rain could flood houses.

“We wanted to stay true to the original music,” Willey said. “If anyone’s seen the film, they’ll instantly recognize the songs.”

His favourite is the title tune.

“This is a bucket-list role for me,” said the Bowen Island boy who attended Vancouver Film School.

“The cast is all solid actors; I was attracted by the artistic team,” he said, likening the action to playing tennis.

But tap-dancing wasn’t always Willey’s racket — it meant plenty of sole searching for dance skills after landing the lead  role.

“I basically tap danced every single day until I got better and faster,” he said, noting lessons from Konkin, and at several dance schools.

Willey described Rain’s moral as being about taking risks to grow.

And about the water during that famous Singin’ In The Rain routine? “That’s a bit of a secret, but it will definitely rain — someone might get splashed if I’m feeling extra frisky,” Willey said.

Your ticket

What: Singin’ In The Rain

When: June 14-Aug. 25

Where: Chemainus Theatre Festival

Tickets: Call 250-246-9820

Just Posted

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Accused pleads not guilty as Trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder

Colin John quietly entered not guilty pleas to both charges.

Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Tour marks 30 years of handmade art

Around 20 artists and artisans south of Nanaimo to open their studio doors

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read