BARRY Manilow's Copacabana brings some Cuban heat to cold wintry nights as Clacton Musical Theatre Society stages its latest production at the West Cliff Theatre.

The musical is based on the Seventies' Grammy Award-winning song and told through the eyes of Stephen, an aspiring songwriter whose imagination takes him back to a time when "music and passion were always in fashion".

Set in the Copacabana nightclub – "the hottest spot north of Havana" – it tells the story of showgirl Lola and her bartender sweetheart Tony.

But it all goes wrongs when diamond-wearing mobster Rico abducts Lola and takes her to his rival club.

He tries to seduce Lola but is attacked by Tony.

During the ensuing brawl a shot rings out and someone falls to the ground dead.

Thirty years later the Copacabana is a disco ... but not for Lola, who spends her drunken grief-wracked nights there still dressed in her glamorous showgirl attire.

The production brings hubby and wife team Drew and Rachael Welham together in lead roles for the first time.

Clacton County High English teacher Rachael plays Lola, while Drew is Rico.

Drew said: "Rachael has been with the society for a long time but this is her first lead role.

"I used to be the lighting guy but two years ago I was roped into Little Shop of Horrors and got the lead and have been helping out ever since.

"Copacabana is all singing and dancing with show girls and has lots of glamour and pizazz – it's great.

"I basically smuggle Lola off to my club, but then she has to kiss another man, which is interesting!"

The show also stars Peter Norfolk as Tony and Ashlea Moore as warm-hearted cigarette girl Gladys.

It is directed by Lucy Weaver, with musical director Franky Garland and choreographer Jennifer Richardson.

Copacabana runs from January 25-28 at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm Saturday matinee.

Tickets are £12 from the box office on 01255 433344.