Jamie Lloyd’s soulful musical The Commitments now has a new cast bringing Roddy Doyle’s music-packed story to life on stage, including Brian Gilligan in the lead role of charismatic singer Deco.
The show revealed Gilligan, who previously played Billy ‘The Animal’ Mooney in the hit show, had an unusual journey to earning the starring role. His leading man potential was discovered when C Jay Ranger, the Associate Director of the show, heard an “astonishingly powerful, stirring voice” singing one of the show’s numbers, Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through The Grapevine, backstage.
The voice belonged to Gilligan and Ray’s approval led to an audition with director Lloyd. Describing his reaction to winning the role, the actor said: ““I still can’t quite believe I’m playing the lead role in The Commitments! It’s every Dubliner’s favourite story and being from the North-side of Dublin myself, it’s a privilege and an honour to be bringing Deco to life on stage.”
The Commitments, which features a book by the original novel’s Booker Prize-winning author Doyle, opened to critical acclaim at the Palace Theatre last September. Telling the story of Jimmy Rabbitte and the unlikely bunch of amateur musicians that he shapes into an amazing live act, the show features an incredible line-up of iconic numbers including Think by Aretha Franklin, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, Papa Was A Rolling Stone by The Temptations and Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding.
Continuing the show’s reputation of casting fresh talent to offer talented newcomers West End breaks, Gilligan is joined by a number of new cast members who are either making their London stage debuts or similarly rising through the ranks of the show.
Replacing Gilligan in the role of Billy is Dublin-born actor John Currivan, who is now making his West End debut alongside fellow newcomer Hollyoaks actor and musician Sam Fordham who is now playing Mickah.
Completing the new cast line-up is former ensemble member Natalie Hope, who has joined Sarah O’Connor and Jessica Cervi to complete the show’s leading female trio, The Commitmentettes, while musical theatre regular Anthony Hunt is now in the role of Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan.
The Commitments, which continues to star Denis Grindel as band manager Jimmy Rabbitte, is currently booking to 19 April.