Michael Clarke is taking his production of SoulKing to the big stage of the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Soul King moving to a larger stage

Concert tribute to Sam Cooke coming to Cowichan Performing Arts Centre Sept. 29

Soul King is heading into new territory.

Presented at the Osborne Bay Pub in Crofton during a pair of four-show runs in early February and again in mid-March, Soul King is advancing into the renovated Cowichan Performing Arts Centre stage in Duncan on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. to play to a wider audience.

“This is like the evolution of the show,” said writer and lead actor Michael Clarke, who portrays singer Sam Cooke in the biographical music journey.

Some big changes will be in store to adapt the performance to the larger venue, but Clarke is looking forward to it.

“It’s where I’m more comfortable,” he said. “It’ll be an interesting journey from there to that point.”

A billboard will soon be going up along the Trans Canada Highway to draw the attention of motorists travelling north from Victoria. The aim is obviously to pack the place for this local production by Toronto vocalist/actor Clarke, who’s been staying in the Cowichan Valley since appearing in Rock Legends at the Chemainus Theatre.

The Osborne Bay Pub version of the show played to rave reviews. It even captured the attention of Duncan’s Will Millar of Irish Rovers fame who called the performance “magic.”

“Michael Clarke’s ‘Soul King’ production is first class entertainment and could hold its own with any of the big touring shows of today,” Millar added.

“Pretty much everything’s the same except Nico Rhodes, our keyboardist, won’t be able to make this,” Clarke noted.

He came up a replacement in Duncan’s Andrew Wilson, who Clarke said was “looking for something to get his feet wet with music again.”

“I feel lucky because I felt like I needed to have two keyboard players anyway,” Clarke added.

Gerry Fewster is the executive producer and Glaucia Desrochers returns to play several roles in the show, sharing significant stage time with Clarke in the concert tribute to the music of Cooke.

Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by calling the Cowichan Ticket Centre at 250-748-7529 or by going online at www.cowichanpac.ca. Adults are $45; seniors and students $36; and groups of 10 or more can also purchase tickets for $36 apiece.

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