What a Glorious Feeling to Premiere in Michigan, Aug. 24

What a Glorious Feeling, a new "play with music" exploring the turbulent relationship between Singin' in the Rain star Gene Kelly and director Stanley Donen, will receive its world premiere at the Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck, Michigan, where it will run from August 24th to September 11th at the on-the-rise, three year-old Equity theatre.

The high-profile show will be directed by Kenneth Mullen, who manages the 181-seat black box theatre with co-artistic producing director Kurt Stamm; both work in New York as well as in the midwestern state. Mullen calls the show an "exploration of creative and romantic temperaments," with Contact star Sean Martin Hingston set to play the legendary Kelly. In the classic MGM musical, Kelly played Don Lockwood, the dashing silent film star who breaks into talking films by turning a surefire, period-set silent flop called The Duelling Cavalier into a musical--The Dancing Cavalier. However, What A Glorious Feeling portrays Kelly as a complex man who was difficult and demanding as well as a brilliant, charming dancer and performer.

Martin Gruber (Swing!, Kiss Me, Kate) will play Donen, with whom Kelly sparks off while shooting the film (they never spoke again on a personal basis after the film, despite working together on It's Always Fair Weather) . The two men had more than Singin' in the Rain in common--both at one time espoused Jeanne Coyne, one of the reasons for their rift. Coyne, as portrayed by Colleen Dunn (Follies, Contact, Sunset Boulevard), is the dance assistant on the set of the movie musical. Brynn Curry will take on the role of Debbie Reynolds in What A Glorious Feeling, with Gordon Thompson as MGM producer/songwriter Arthur Freed (whose songs are featured in Singin' in the Rain) and as choreographer/director Busby Berkeley.

The show is not a traditional musical. "It's a play with music and dance," Mullen stated. "You'll see the rehearsal process, fragments of routines and sections of famous numbers. There's very little singing it, there's a lot dance..Jamie Rocco's calling it a hybrid show." Rocco is choreographing the show, which will feature a book by Jay Berkow (Jolson and Company). In the show, characters will not sing to one another, but songs from such MGM classics as On the Town, Royal Wedding, Cover Girl (as well as songs from Singin' in the Rain), will be used for the dramatic purposes of conjuring the mood and the era in which the show is set--as well as in the context of rehearsals.

The show's design team comprises Robert Wojik (costumes), Jen Kules (lighting), George Lee (sets) and Steve Tabor (sound), with Michael Sobie attached as What A Glorious Feeling's musical director.

Singin' in the Rain, released in 1952, is considered the pinnacle of MGM's golden age of movie musicals. The film starred Kelly, Reynolds, Donald O'Connor and Oscar-nominated Jean Hagen (who ironically provided the singing voice for Reynolds in some numbers) as the scheming, screechy Lina Lamont. The film features songs from the catalogue of Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, as well as a satiric script by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (On the Town, On the Twentieth Century).

The Mason Street Warehouse presented the Michigan premieres of Nunsensations!, The Thing About Men, Honky Tonk Highway as well as the American regional theatre premiere of Urinetown this summer. To learn more about What a Glorious Feeling and about the theatre, visit www.masonstreetwarehouse.org.

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