It is 35 years since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel. The world's hardest working and most explosive soul band are set to return in an all new stage production which reaches Milton Keynes Theatre this week.
The Commitments tells the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working-class music fan, who transforms an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, which becomes the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced. Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the members of his new band, which he names ‘The Commitments’.
Humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, grappling with inter-group differences as they muddle their way through early rehearsals for the band’s first gig. Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves, they combust. The backing singers are more interested in the middle-aged horn playing legend, the singer has entered Eurovision, the drummer has walked out mid-gig and the saxophone player has dangerous leanings towards a jazz career.
This major UK and Ireland tour of the smash-hit musical will star Coronation Street legend Nigel Pivaro, who appeared in the hugely popular ITV soap between 1983 – 2012 as the lovable rogue Terry Duckworth. He will be swapping the cobbles for the stage and performing the role of ‘Da’ in this all-new production.
Nigel Pivaro says: “I am thrilled to be marking my return to the stage in this production of The Commitments. It's an iconic story that resonates across the years, about people who though distant from the music's origins find communion and expression in the Motown style. A musical genre which was borne out of oppression and which the characters embrace as their own. The Motown Sound is as vibrant today as it was when it first burst through in the Sixties.”
Roddy Doyle added: “I'm delighted that The Commitments are coming back in 2022 & 2023 and I'm particularly looking forward to seeing how Nigel Pivaro tackles the part of Jimmy Rabbitte's Da.”
This new tour for 2022/23 is directed by Andrew Linnie. Andrew made his West End debut in the original production in 2013, playing the role of Dean, the band’s sax player. He then went on to star in the lead role of Jimmy Rabitte in the 2016/2017 UK tour.
Joining the cast as Deco is Olivier Award nominee Ian McIntosh. Ian is no stranger to this role, having previously played Alternate Deco during the original West End run. Previous credits include Galileo in the UK tour of We Will Rock You, Sid Worley in An Officer and a Gentleman and he was Olivier nominated for ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Musical’ for his role as Barry in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. His extensive musical career has also seen him perform in Hair and Can’t Buy Me Love.
Other casting includes James Killeen as Jimmy, Stuart Reid as Joey, Ciara Mackey as Imelda, Michael Mahony as Oustpan, Ryan Kelly as Billy, Conor Litten as Dean, Guy Freeman as Derek, Stephen O’Riain as James, Ronnie Yorke as Mickah, Eve Kitchingman as Natalie, and Sarah Gardiner as Bernie. Maryann Lynch, Alice Croft, James Deegan, Callum Martin, Joshua Barton, Ed Thorpe and Colm Gleeson make up the ensemble.
In 2013 The Commitments musical opened in London’s West End to universal critical acclaim and enjoyed a record-breaking two-year residency at the Palace Theatre. After which, it hit the road for a major tour, invigorating audiences up and down the country throughout 2016 and 2017.
The rescheduled nine-month tour will see the show perform in front of fans all over the UK & Ireland, opening in Bromley in September and then playing Portsmouth, Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Hull, York, Bradford, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Wimbledon, Truro, Plymouth, Aylesbury, Dublin, Belfast, Ipswich, Bournemouth, Dartford, Bristol, Southampton, Nottingham, Northampton, Liverpool, Birmingham, Blackpool, Darlington, Peterborough, Cardiff, Llandudno, Manchester, Reading and Newcastle before culminating in Brighton in July 2023.
The Commitments musical has been adapted from the novel by Booker prize-winning author Roddy Doyle. Featuring an electric playlist, The Commitments showcases more than 20 soul classics performed live on stage, including Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Save Me, Mustang Sally, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood, I Can't Turn You Loose and many more!
The Commitments is a guaranteed “fabulously-fun night” (Daily Mail) that you will simply never forget.
- 1. Nigel Pivaro - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 2. Nigel Pivaro, James Killeen - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 3. L-R Sarah Gardiner, Ian McIntosh, Conor Litten, James Killeen, Ciara Mackey, Michael Mahony - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 4. L-R James Killeen, Ciara Mackey, Eve Kitchingman, Guy Freeman. Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 5. L-R Eve Kitchingman, Ciara Mackey, Sarah Gardiner - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 6. L-R Eve Kitchingman, Conor Litten, Stuart Reid, Ciara Mackey, Sarah Gardiner - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 7. L-R Eve Kitchingman, Michael Mahony, Ciara Mackey, James Killeen, Sarah Gardiner, Conor Litten, Guy Freeman, Ian McIntosh - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 8. Ian McIntosh - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 9. Ryan Kelly - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 10. Ronnie Yorke - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 11. L-R Stephen O_Riain, Eve Kitchingman, Ciara Mackey, Sarah Gardiner, Guy Freeman - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 12. L-R Eve Kitchingman, Ian McIntosh, Ciara Mackey, Sarah Gardiner - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 14. L-R Ryan Kelly, James Killeen with cast - Credit - Ellie Kurttz
- 15. Cast of The Commitments - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 16. Stuart Reid, Ian McIntosh, Conor Litten - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 17. James Killeen - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 18. James Killeen and Ciara Mackey - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 19. L-R Michael Mahony, Stephen O_Riain, Guy Freeman - Credit Ellie Kurttz
- 20. L-R Conor Litten and Stuart Reid - Ellie Kurttz
- 21. The Commitments - Credit Ellie Kurttz
1 of 20