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Professors create new musical about duo

May 2, 2014

Two UW-River Falls professors, Jim Zimmerman and Michael Roy, have taken their love for the musical duo The Righteous Brothers and teamed up to create a one of a kind musical called “That Lovin’ Feelin’.”

“That Lovin’ Feelin’” is a musical that chronicles the ins and outs of the forty year relationship between The Righteous Brothers. The St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre presents the musical biography based on the duo, Bill Medley and the late Bobby Hatfield. Medley helped work on the show, which features many of the group’s hits.

Zimmerman, a communication studies and theatre arts professor at UWRF, is the writer, producer and director of the musical. He said the show gives fans a chance to see how their favorite songs originated, combining R&B with Rock and Roll.

“It’s infectious fun. You’ve got folks up on stage singing and the audience is clapping along, most of them are on their feet applauding or singing along themselves,” Zimmerman said. “Everyone walks out with a smile on their face.”

The Righteous Brothers took the Top 40 radio by storm in the mid-1960s, and their music continues to live on today.

“It’s a very pleasing story but more than that, the music is wonderful and iconic. If you’re familiar with any of the Righteous Brothers songs you know that they were amazing musicians,” Zimmerman said. “I mean, their song, ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ is still the most played song in radio history, the music is contagious.”

The production of “That Lovin’ Feelin’” is a celebration of UWRF talent. There are 18 cast members and half of them are made up of past or current students, but that is not where the Falcon connection ends. Roy, a music professor at UWRF, created the musical arrangement for the show. He says that the best part of working on the play was getting to know the music better.

“I loved the music when I was a teenager,” Roy said. “I know all of the songs and so to be able to work on them in such an intimate manner, I can learn them even better.”

While the iconic Righteous Brothers started creating music decades ago, “That Lovin’ Feelin’” is geared towards people of all ages to enjoy the musical duo’s timeless music.

“The musical isn’t just for people that are familiar with the Righteous Brother’s music,” Zimmerman said. “People of all ages come to the show and it introduces a younger generation to their classic hits.”

“That Lovin’ Feelin’” will be featured at the dinner theatre now through August 9, 2014. Tickets range from $39 to $52. For more information or to purchase tickets to “That Lovin’ Feelin’” visit the St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre’s website.

“It’s a great evening and those who go and see it will walk out and say that it was money well spent,” Zimmerman said. “The nature of the show is such that they can’t help but have a good time.”