Adam Cooper's Shall We Dance, Featuring Rodgers Music, Opens in London

News   Adam Cooper's Shall We Dance, Featuring Rodgers Music, Opens in London
Adam Cooper, the former Royal Ballet principal dancer and creator of the role of the Swan in Matthew Bourne's all-male version of Swan Lake, has returned to London's Sadler's Wells in his own production of Shall We Dance, a dance tribute to the music of Richard Rodgers.
Adam Cooper
Adam Cooper Photo by Royal Ballet

It opens officially July 29 (following previews from July 23), for a six-week run through Aug. 30.

According to press materials, the show — which features a cast of over 40 dancers and musicians, led by Cooper, actress Emma Samms and Cooper's wife and fellow dancer Sarah Wildor — tells the story of one man's quest to find true love. His panoramic voyage travels from the Orient to the Wild West by way of Russian Folk dance, New York jazz and the waltzes of the Viennese ballroom.

The score, comprised entirely of melodies by iconic Broadway composer Richard Rodgers , includes music from South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, Carousel, Babes in Arms, On Your Toes, The King and I, State Fair, Pal Joey and many more. Best known for his partnerships with lyricists Oscar Hammerstein II and Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers composed music for over 900 songs and 40 musicals before his death in 1979. He won the Pulitzer Prize; Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Awards.

Cooper has previously choreographed and starred in productions of On Your Toes and Singin’ in the Rain (both at Leicester Haymarket, which subsequently transferred to London's Royal Festival Hall and Sadler's Wells respectively), as well as choreographing Grand Hotel for the Donmar Warehouse's 2004 production (for which he was Olivier nominated), and a revival of Promises Promises at Sheffield Crucible in 2005, Side by Side by Sondheim at the Venue in 2007 and Carousel on tour and at the West End's Savoy Theatre in 2008. He also co-directed and choreographed a dance version of Les Liasions Dangereuses, starring himself as Vicomte de Valmont, that was premiered in Japan in 2005 before being seen at Sadler's Wells. As a performer, he has been seen as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls in the Donmar Warehouse production at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2006, and in the Royal Festival Hall's production of The Wizard of Oz in 2008 in which he played the Tin Man. He was also seen in the title role of the original film version of Billy Elliot, playing the adult Billy.

 Samms trained at the Royal Ballet School. An early injury encouraged a move into acting where she has worked extensively in both Los Angeles and the U.K., with major roles in "Dynasty," "Holby City," "Doctors" and "The New Adventures of Superman," among others. Thirty-two years after being told she'd never dance again, she now makes her stage debut in Shall We Dance. Wildor joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1991 and was promoted to Principal Ballerina in 1999. In 2001 she left to concentrate on a career as a freelance performer; her stage highlights include creating the title role in Matthew Bourne's production of Cinderella, starring in the West End transfer of Susan Stroman's Broadway show Contact to the West End's Queen's Theatre in 2002, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical, performing in the production of On Your Toes at the Royal Festival Hall and creating the role of Madame de Tourvel in Adam Cooper's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, on tour and at Sadler's Wells.

Conceived by Adam Cooper, Shall We Dance has musical direction by Richard Balcombe, design by Paul Farnsworth, lighting design by Paul Pyant and projection design by Thomas Gray. The production is presented by Askonas Holt, Raymond Gubbay and Sadler's Wells, by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of R & H Theatricals.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 412 4300, or visit

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