Former Manchester City footballer turned crooning song and dance star announces Doncaster show

Jim Whitley stars in Crooners.
Jim Whitley stars in Crooners.
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A former footballer who played for Manchester City and Northern Ireland who hung up his boots for tap dancing shoes has announced a show in Doncaster.

Jim Whitley, who also played for Wrexham, Northampton, Blackpool, Swindon and Norwich during his career from 1993-2006, will premiere the brand new comedy musical show Crooners at Cast on June 23.

Jim Whitley during his playing days at Manchester City.

Jim Whitley during his playing days at Manchester City.

When injury cut short Jim’s football career he jumped at 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 heroes Sammy Davis Jr, Matt Monro and Bobby Darin.

He 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.”

Crooners 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.

The Mini Big Band still has strong foundations in Yorkshire with the outfit bringing together talent from the area's strong musical heritage in jazz, completed by a trumpet section made from alumni of the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra.

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.”

He 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”

Tickets for Crooners on Friday 23 June are £18.50 / £16.50 concessions are available online at castindoncaster.com or on 01302 303 959.