Leon Willey (Don Lockwood

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

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatmen centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

A still image from security camera video recorded June 8 shows an individual lighting trash on fire in the doorway of 19+ Cannabis Store on Victoria Crescent. RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue are investigating numerous fires set in downtown Nanaimo in the past three months. (Photo submitted)
‘It’s out of control’: More than 20 fires set in downtown Nanaimo in past 3 months

Authorities asking business owners to keep dumpsters locked

Most Read