THE cast for the upcoming West End premiere of The Commitments, a stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s original novel, have been announced.
Stage actor Killian Donnelly (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables) leads a cast of mostly unknown talent, many of whom will be making their West End debut when the show begins preview on September 21.
Producers have also announced that the production will feature a host of classic soul songs including In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett.
Donnelly will play Deco – the arrogant but gifted lead singer of the music group in the role made famous on film by Andrew Strong.
He will be joined by what the show’s producers are calling “an array of fresh, young and exciting talent”.
They include Dublin actor Denis Grindel – a 22-year-old Law graduate – making his West End début.
Grindel will play the lead role of Jimmy Rabbitte, a visionary young music fanatic who shapes a group of unlikely amateur musicians into one of Dublin’s finest live bands.
The show follows the journey of two members of a frustrated synthesiser band who turn to Jimmy Rabbitte – the local music expert – for help.
Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the new line-up who he names The Commitments.
The musical will follow their journey from early rehearsals to their first gig.
The production will feature classic soul songs including Think by Aretha Franklin, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations, Night Train by James Brown and In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett.
Three young Dublin girls making their West End débuts are Sarah O’Connor, Stephanie McKeon and Jessica Cervi, who will play The Commitmentettes – Dublin’s answer to The Supremes.
Other actors include Ben Fox (Backbeat, The Midnight Hour) as the senior musician in the group and Sean Kearns (Ballykissangel) as Jimmy Rabbitte’s father.
Award-winning West End director Jamie Lloyd – who recently directed the critically acclaimed Macbeth – will bring the Doyle’s story to the stage from October 8. Previews begin from September 21.
The world premiere of The Commitments will take place at London’s Palace Theatre on October 8.