All the heart, all the soul, all the music. The Soul Commitments perform a tribute to the music of Alan Parker’s 1991 musical comedy-drama film “The Commitments” on March 16 at Raue Center For The Arts!
“Our motto is to live in the moment of rock-n-roll history and that’s precisely what we think the audience will do with our’ ‘The Commitments’ and Van Morrison tribute,” says Producer, Doug James.
The Soul Commitments is a Chicago-based, fully-loaded R&B outfit. Four singers and an eight-piece band churn out the music drawn from the hit factories of the 1960s and early ‘70s in places like Muscle Shoals, Memphis and Motown. The group performs what is undeniably some of the greatest, if not the best, popular dance and listening music of all time.
2016 marked the 25th anniversary of “The Commitments,” a celebrated Irish cult classic film about the struggles of urban life in Northern Ireland and the way American soul music lifted the spirits of the men and women of this gritty city who were dubbed “The Saviors of Dublin Soul.”
“I hadn’t seen ‘The Commitments’ since it debuted in 1991, but I had both soundtracks and listened to them on occasion” says James. “I did some historical research, watched the film again and formulated an idea of how to present it in a sort of jukebox musical format.”
The Soul Commitments came together in 2016, with each member of the original cast cherry picked by James. While the lineup has seen some changes over the years, the core remains intact. James, who used to sing the lead, now narrates the show’s storyline through voiceover and manages the show, “much like Jimmy Rabbit, the producer in the film.”
“Not since ‘The Blues Brothers’ has there been a better film that proves the appeal of classic R&B to all audiences,” says James of “The Commitments.” While fans of the film will certainly enjoy The Soul Commitments’ interpretation of the film, James assures audiences that it isn’t necessary for folks to have seen the film to be “thoroughly entertained” by the tribute, which he shares does a “wonderful job of recreating the vibe of the film.”
The Soul Commitments also add an Irish twist to the old school R&B featured in the original film, interweaving the music of Irish rock icon, Van “The Man” Morrison throughout the tribute.
While the first superstar of Irish rock failed his audition for the role of Joey “The Lips” Fagan in “The Commitments,” his Irish heartbeat is still felt in the film and on the stage.
“It seemed like the perfect connection to honor the music of ‘The Belfast Cowboy’ as well as the film just in time for St. Patrick’s Day,” says James of the addition to the March 16 show at Raue Center. “Like the film, you will get all the heart, all the soul, all the music from Motown to Memphis to Muscle Shoals.”
Tickets to The Soul Commitments start at $20. For more information, visit rauecenter.org.