The Commitments (musical)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Commitments
The Commitments musical poster.jpg
Official Poster of London Production
BookRoddy Doyle
Basis1987 novel The Commitments
Premiere8 October 2013 (2013-10-08): Palace Theatre
Productions2013 West End

The Commitments is a musical written by Roddy Doyle, based on the 1987 novel of the same name, also written by Doyle. Like the novel (and its 1991 film adaptation), the musical is about a group of unemployed Irish youths who start a soul music band. It premiered in 2013 at the Palace Theatre in London's West End.

The music within the musical consists of soul and rock & roll classics from the 1950s and 60s, including "Think", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" and "Night Train".[1]. The music is entirely diegetic, meaning that all the songs are performed by the band rather than being sung by characters to express an emotion. For that reason, Doyle has insisted that The Commitments is not a jukebox musical.[2]


The Commitments at the Palace Theatre London

The musical is based on the 1987 novel, by Roddy Doyle.[3] Following the 1991 film adaptation, Doyle said he received 20 different offers to turn the novel into a musical. He turned them all down because he had become resentful of the success of The Commitments, to the seeming exclusion of his other novels; and because he was not a fan of musical theatre, having never seen a musical. He eventually changed his mind due to his children, who were fans of the 1991 film, and who took him to see musicals, including a production of the film-turned-musical The Producers, which he called "a revelation".[4][2][5]

Officially confirmed on 19 April 2013, in Ireland,[6] producers announced that the show would play the Palace Theatre, with tickets going on sale everywhere on 23 April.[7] Despite initially looking to hire another writer to write the book for the musical,[8] Doyle ended up writing the show himself.[9] The show will be directed by Jamie Lloyd,[10] with choreography by Ann Yee, set design by Soutra Gilmour, sound design by Rory Madden and lightning by Jon Clark.[11] Ticket prices for the show began at £10,[7] with all preview tickets half price.[12]

Production history[edit]

West End (2013-2015)[edit]

The Commitments began previews on 21 September 2013, at the Palace Theatre, London, before holding its official opening night on 8 October.[13] On 20 August 2013, casting was announced with Denis Grindel playing Jimmy Rabbitte, Killian Donnelly playing Deco,[14] Ben Fox playing Joey Fagan,[15] Sean Kearns as Jimmy Rabbitte’s father[15] and Sarah O’Connor, Stephanie McKeon and Jessica Cervi playing The Commitmentettes.[15] A typical London performance ran 2hrs 25mins, including one interval of 15 mins.[16] On 21 May 2015, it was announced that the show would close on 1 November 2015.[17]

UK and Ireland Tour (2016-2017)[edit]

Upon the show's closing notice in London it was announced that a tour would commence in 2016.[18] The production officially opened at Dublin's Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in October 2016, and closed at the Bradford Alhambra Theatre on May 13th 2017. It feature a number of cast members from the West End production, including original cast members Brian Gilligan as Deco and Andrew Linnie as Jimmy. Kevin Kennedy, best known as Curly Watts from Coronation Street, joined the cast as Jimmy's Da.

Musical numbers[edit]

The musical features nineteen main songs with a further nineteen short sound bites[19] of soul and motown numbers.[20]

Principal roles and cast members[edit]

Character[nb 1] Original West End actor[22][23][24][25] UK Tour actor[26]
Bernie Jessica Cervi Christina Tedders
Deco Killian Donnelly[nb 2] Brian Gilligan
Derek Mark Dugdale Peter Mooney
Joey Fagan Ben Fox Alex McMorran
Billy/Dave Brian Gilligan John Currivan
Jimmy Rabbitte Denis Grindel Andrew Linnie
Dean Andrew Linnie Padraig Dooney
Natalie Stephanie McKeon Amy Penston
Imelda Sarah O'Connor Leah Penston
James Barnaby Southgate Rhys Whitfield
Mickah Joe Woolmer Sam Fordham
Outspan Matthew Wycliffe Christian James
Sap Padraig Dooney Guy Freeman
Auditionees Christopher Fry, John McLarnon, Sharon Sexton, Alex Tomkins
Dodgy Man Ryan Gibb
Jimmy's Da Sean Kearns Kevin Kennedy
Sharon Clodagh Long
Ray Ian McIntosh Ben Morris
Alice Riona O'Connor
Hot Press Thomas Snowdon Joshua Barton
Barman Glenn Spears Joshua Barton
Jimmy's Ma/Outspan's Ma Julia Worsley
Resident Choreographer Natalie Hope

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2013 Evening Standard Award Best Night Out Nominated[28] [28]
2014 Awards Best Actor in a Musical Killian Donnelly Nominated[29] [30]

Critical reception[edit]

The West End production of The Commitments received mixed reviews from critics.[31]


  1. ^ Listed in order of appearance.
  2. ^ The role of Deco was played by Ian McIntosh[24] at Tuesday and Sunday evening performances.[27]


  1. ^ "The Commitments casting update at the Palace Theatre". London Theatre. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Mark (23 April 2013). "The Commitments to be turned into West End musical". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  3. ^ "The Commitments to be turned into musical by Roddy Doyle after novel and film success". Daily Mirror. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Roddy Doyle's The Commitments becomes West End musical". BBC News. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Roddy Doyle on The Commitments musical". The Irish Post. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  6. ^ "The Commitments On Sale in Ireland". The Commitments (musical). 19 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Roddy Doyle's The Commitments to open in London with £5 tickets". The Irish Post. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  8. ^ "The Commitments made into West End musical". The Irish News. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Roddy Doyle's The Commitments to be adapted for the stage". The Telegraph. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Roddy Doyle's "The Commitments" finally made into musical". Reuters. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Roddy Doyle's The Commitments to open in West End this September". The Stage. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  12. ^ "The Commitments: all preview shows half price". Evening Standard. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Roddy Doyle's Commitments musical confirms 8 Oct opening, tickets on sale". Whats On Stage. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  14. ^ "West End Cast have been announced". The Commitments (musical). 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  15. ^ a b c "Casting Announced for West End Premiere of Stage Version of The Commitments". Playbill. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  16. ^ "West End Review: 'The Commitments'". Variety. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  17. ^ "The Commitments to close in November". Whats On Stage. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  18. ^ "The Commitments is to close in the West End and tour the UK". Digital Spy. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Take a Deco at superb Commitments". Daily Mail. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Roddy Doyle's stage adaptation of The Commitments hits the West End". Metro. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Roddy Doyle's The Commitments". Palace Theatre programme: 29. October 2013.
  22. ^ "Cast". The Commitments (musical). Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Cast of newcomers announced for Roddy Doyle musical The Commitments". Whats On Stage. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  24. ^ a b "Roddy Doyle's The Commitments". Palace Theatre programme: 26. October 2013.
  25. ^ A new generation of talent energises new musical The Commitments, London Theatre Direct. Retrieved: 27 February 2015.
  26. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Meet Killian Donnelly, Breakout Star of the Brand-New West End Musical The Commitments". Broadway.COM. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  28. ^ a b "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2013: Book of Mormon voted Best Night Out in London". London Evening Standard. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  29. ^ "Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint win at WhatsOnStage Awards". The Telegraph. 23 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  30. ^ "The full 2014 WhatsOnStage Awards shortlists". Whats On Stage. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  31. ^ "Mixed bag for Jamie Lloyd's Commitments". Whats On Stage. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.

External links[edit]