Italian opera meets Seventies cool in show premiere

Jimmy Johnston and Alex Tomkins in rehearsal for Soul Man'picture: James Drawneek
Jimmy Johnston and Alex Tomkins in rehearsal for Soul Man'picture: James Drawneek

ITALIAN opera meets Seventies soul in the world premiere of Chris Monks’ Soul Man, a brand new musical based on Verdi’s Rigoletto and Victor Hugo’s Le Roi S’Amuse.

Building on the huge popularity of The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and Carmen, this is Chris Monks’ first adaptation specially written for the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Set in West Yorkshire in 1974, Justin Jones, the best stand-up comedian this side of Leeds, conceals a precious secret.

Pursued by vengeful enemies and with the cards stacked against him, the Joker needs to get himself and a priceless cargo out of the country before it’s too late.

West End star Jimmy Johnston will be playing the Soul Man, Justin Jones.

Jimmy has starred in several West End musicals including Dreamcoats and Petticoats, Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and the original London productions of Miss Saigon, Sherlock Holmes The Musical and A Tribute To The Blues Brothers.

He received two Olivier Award nominations for best actor for his roles as The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Will Parker in Oklahoma! at the National Theatre, a role he reprised in the film starring alongside Hugh Jackman and Maureen Lipman.

Jimmy will now take on the role of stand up comedian Justin Jones in the world premiere of Soul Man.

Set in 1970s Leeds, the show features soul classics from artists including Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, KC and the Sunshine Band

Freely adapted from Verdi’s Rigoletto and Victor Hugo’s Le Roi S’Amuse, Chris Monks presents this brand new musical adventure.

In his trademark modern style and with fresh songs, it follows his witty and entertaining adaptations of The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and Carmen.

Soul Man runs from 3 August to 1 September. Tickets cost between £10 and £24.50 and can be booked by calling the SJ box office on (01723) 370541 or online at www.sjt.uk.com

* See Friday 3 August Whitby Gazette to find out how to win one of 10 pairs of tickets to the show.