Former Manchester City, Wrexham and Northern Ireland midfielder Jim Whitley has exchanged his football boots for tap shoes as he prepares to premier a brand new comedy musical show set to hit the Stiwt Theatre on Saturday, 10 March.
When injury cut short Jim’s football career he jumped on the chance to get back to his love for music and rekindle his previous experience as a singer. His love for swing music, The Rat Pack and the Great American Song book soon saw Jim become one of the UK’s most in demand crooners on the theatre circuit, and he jumped at the opportunity to play homage to his crooner hero’s Sammy Davis Jr, Matt Monro and Bobby Darin.
Whitley said, “This is music from a time where men had style and charisma and could sing, dance, and joke like the best of them. What a time for music.”
Crooner includes more than 20 all time classic crooner songs such as Mr. Bojangles, L.O.V.E, Mac The Knife and Beyond The Sea and features one of the best modern big bands in the UK, The Mini Big Band.
Jim’s footballing feet have fared him well in his transition from football to theatre and he puts them to good practice in an extended Fred Astaire inspired tap dance routine feature.
Jim admitted, “I’ve always admired flair and showmanship of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, so I bought some tap shoes! Now, it’s the highlight of my night.”
Jim broke into the theatre world with his portrayal of Nat King Cole in the production of Christmas Crooners and Strictly Swing before joining the Rat Pack tour as Sammy Davis Jr to critical acclaim. He is now excited to be part of this brand show that plays homage to music he loves, with one of the best touring big bands in the UK, and a quintessential injection of British comedy – tongue firmly in cheek.
“Nobody has done it like this,” Whitley says. “We’re playing the music of all the greats, completely live, with an ace band, and throwing in some British comedy that’s had me rolling around in laughter.
“And to have received the reviews and amazing feedback from our audience, it really is special.”
Crooners appears at the Stiwt Theatre on Saturday, 10 March.
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