Opera given a soul, man

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

Building on the 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.

“My adaptations are driven by the deep love I have for these works and the fact that I think they should be accessible to as many people as possible,” said Chris, who is artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

“Opera can be difficult. Audiences don’t want a show sung in a different language and they don’t want to have to listen to music they can’t absorb and understand, so my job is to ease them into it. It runs from August 3 to September 1.