Black History Laser Tribute At Capitol Heights Elementary

Sources: Town of Capital Heights | All Things Michael

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Proceeds will support student activities Student Performance and Spectacular Laser Show Celebrate the contributions of African Americans in an exciting way. The Black History Laser Tribute is an unforgettable experience for all ages Historical events such as the Tuskegee Airmen and Dr King’s “I Have a Dream” address are brought to life using dazzling laser animations. Audience participation is encouraged during our sing-along to music hits from Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and others.

Black History Laser Tribute-Capitol Heights Elementary

Where: Capitol Heights Elementary School
When: Thursday, February 12, 2015
Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $1.00 for adult $1.00 for students

NOTE:

  • Laser shows are not recommended for very young children.
  • Laser shows feature loud music and dramatic lighting and may not be suitable for some visitors.
  • Strobe lights and special effects in laser light shows may cause seizures in certain individuals. If you have any concerns or questions about the show’s content or nature, please ask the operator/educator before the program begins.

 

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Denver Mayor Sings Praises Of Motown: The Musical – See Chance To Win Trip/Tickets

Sources: CBS | All Things Michael

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DENVER (CBS4) – It’s the music that you grew up with, and now it’s a Broadway musical that’s headed to Denver.

“Motown: The Musical” is the story behind some of the biggest musical groups and solo singers of the 1950s and 1960s. It’s the music that shaped a generation and now it’s playing out on stage.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock told CBS4 that he and his wife saw the show on Broadway in New York. He called it phenomenal.

“It’s just a moment in time in music that’s defied time … crossed every racial, ethnic and religious boundary ever set in this world,” Hancock said.

When he got to Denver after seeing the musical, Hancock said that he immediately contacted the Denver Center Attractions to get the show here. He said that the deal was already in the works.

“Motown: The Musical” is the story of how Barry Gordy found and promoted some of the biggest musical acts in the United States. The show explores Gordy’s relationships with stars like Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. It features more than 40 classic songs, including “What’s Going On,” “Dancing in the Street,” “I Heard It through the Grapevine,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “My Girl.”

“‘My Girl’ by the Temptations is my favorite song from Motown. Loved all the music, but ‘My Girl’ resonates because it’s one that’s just crossed every genre, every geographic boundary … every limit in society,” Hancock explained.

He’s pretty clear on his favorite Motown act also.

“Without question, The Temptations. Closely followed by The Jackson 5. We all grew up with the Jackson 5. Certainly, Michael Jackson … the greatest entertainer of all time. But when it comes down to music that lasts forever you’ve got to go with The Temptations,” Hancock said.

What is your favorite Motown song or act? CBS4 in partnership with Denver Center Attractions is looking for Motown’s Biggest Fan. Winners will get tickets to the musical when it comes to Denver, and a grand prize winner will get a trip for two to Boston to see the show from Feb. 9– 11. We want you to put together your best Motown selfie or video and upload it to CBSDenver.com. The deadline for entry is Jan. 30. Winners will be chosen Feb. 2.

“Motown: The Musical” comes to The Buell Theatre March 31 through April 19. Tickets are on sale now.

 

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MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Ends Broadway Run Today

Sources: Broadway World | All Things Michael

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MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, the hit musical featuring the music of the legendary Motown catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy, ends its Broadway run today, January 18 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. MOTOWN is set to return to Broadway at a Nederlander theatre to be announced in July 2016. Last spring, the first National Tour of Motown the Musical opened to critical acclaim, grossing an impressive $20 Million dollars during a packed sixteen-week run, and is now heading to major markets across the US. MOTOWN will also head to London’s West End this summer.

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy‘s incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more.

 

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Berry Gordy Talks About Taking Motown To Broadway

Sources: Philly.com – A. D. Amorosi | All Things Michael

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When Berry Gordy talks about the legendary record company he started in Detroit back in 1959 (originally Tamla Records, it became the Motown Record Corp. in 1960), he describes an entity transcending music. “My Motown is like a tree,” he says with relish. “We go out on branches in every different direction.”

The sounds and sights of Smokey Robinson’s Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the young Michael Jackson, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and Diana Ross (Gordy’s onetime, longtime paramour) with and without the Supremes made Motown a force of nature in entertainment circles. Since its first hits – many featuring Gordy songwriting credits – the African American label was what it claimed to be: “the sound of young America.” On Tuesday, its offspring, Motown the Musical, begins a two-week engagement at the Academy of Music.

“When I started this, people asked how was I going to Broadway-ize Motown,” says the 85-year-old music mogul, who sold his shares in the label in 1988. “I said instead that I’m going to Motown-ize Broadway.”

A jukebox musical jammed with classic hits, the show is based on Gordy’s growing up in Detroit, then following his professional and personal desires. “The whole thing was a dream-like fairy tale that happened to come true,” he says, a sentiment echoed in a joint phone interview by Nansci Neiman-LeGette, COO of Berry Gordy Productions. “You always have a purpose,” she says, as the pair riff like an old married couple on all things Motown.

Motown the Musical didn’t come to life in 2013 because its writer was a huge fan of musicals. In fact, the only one that ever stuck in his mind was Richard Rodgers’ 1962 No Strings, starring Diahann Carroll. And even that show’s importance to him came down to record labels – Carroll’s then-husband was Monty Kay, an executive to whom the young Gordy had pitched songs.

So it wasn’t love. “I wanted to do Broadway because it was out of my reach,” Gordy says. Then again, with his successful production forays into film (1972’s Billie Holiday biography Lady Sings the Blues) and television (1971’s Diana!), both starring Ross, he figured that conquering theater was an inevitability.

“I always wanted my artists and my music to hit upon every aspect of American life. That’s why we had them do training – glamour training – under Miss Powell, who had a finishing school.” (Maxine Powell, Motown’s director of artist development, died in 2013.) Gordy’s real dream for Motown – the tuxes and beautiful gowns, the charm school, the need for excellence in everything – was to uplift black Americans, to give them something to strive for and be proud of.

The thing is, like the Four Seasons’ Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli’s mega-successful Jersey Boys, Motown the Musical is rooted in truth as well as aspiration. And that reality, though dazzling in scope, wasn’t always sparkling.

Take Gordy’s relationships with some of his biggest artists and collaborators, such as Holland-Dozier-Holland (Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland) and Marvin Gaye.

With Gaye, Gordy fought about the civil-rights message of “What’s Going On,” which he saw as out of step with the crooner’s suave, tailored persona. With Holland-Dozier-Holland, he argued about matters of compensation. With other Motown artists giving him headaches, the self-described “fair-but-firm” Gordy levied fines. “They were so important to me that I couldn’t fire them, so I would fine them,” he says with a laugh.

Then there’s Ross, arguably Motown’s greatest star, with whom the thrice-married Gordy had an affair starting in 1965, and a child, Rhonda, in 1971. Though Gordy considers himself a private person who doesn’t revel in self-reflection, to make Motown the Musical work beyond its bustling sound track of 66 songs, he had to tell the truth.

“I learned that if you don’t tell the truth from the start, your story is not credible. People lose interest.” To do that effectively, he had to include the passion he shared with the lead Supreme. “I’m a reasonably normal person,” he laughs, “and anything that happened to me happens to a lot of men. I had to include the love story of my life. Diana knows that she was the inspiration for everything that I did.”

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According to Gordy, so true did Motown the Musical ring to Ross that when she saw its opening night on Broadway with the relationship between the pair played out on stage, she wept. “On opening night, the artists who left Motown came back,” he says – no one ever really leaves Motown.

Along with fashioning truth into a book for the show, Gordy had to write new songs to knit together elements of the story that his classic hits couldn’t do alone. “I only write when necessary, but I needed glue,” he says. And with that, he’s off and running on a creative trajectory that he once told Billboard magazine would be finished with the start of Motown the Musical.

“I told a lie is what I say now,” he laughs – he’s now working on a cinematic song-and-dance cycle featuring 15-year-old discovery Jadagrace singing about good deeds rather than anger.

“That’s something I love to do . . . be it with Stevie, Marvin, Jadagrace, or Diana: make a better world,” he says.

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2Cellos Perform Smooth Criminal And Human Nature Live

Sources: Virgin Radio fr | Edited By – All Things Michael

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The 2Cellos Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser recently posted videos of their performances of Smooth Criminal and Human Nature by Michael Jackson at the EXIT Festival in Serbia from July 2014. In a rousing video production, the two musicians pay tribute to Michael Jackson with flying colors!

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By taking on hits like Highway to Hell by AC/DC or Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, they have managed to conquer all audiences, who are not accustomed to hearing the cello played this way.

See their electrifying performances below:

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Evans Ross Gives Nod To MJ On New Video Featuring His Wife And Mom

Sources: Daily Mail | Edited By – All Things Michael

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Evan Ross added a splash of star power to promote his new music video How To Live Alone.

The budding actor and singer recruited his mother, Diana Ross, and his wife, Ashlee Simpson, to appear in blink-of-the-eye scenes set to a sobering love song that reflects his new life.

‘The whole album I’m doing right now has to do with love,’ Evan told People on its debut Friday. ‘I just got married and that whole thing, and it definitely has to do with that and where I’m at in life.’

The music video, shot in black and white with lyrics flashing in gold, sees the 26-year-old looking mostly forlorn as he croons about his 30-year-old wife, saying that he cannot imagine a life without her.

‘If it’s not you, it will be no one. I’ll just learn how to live alone,’ is the song’s chorus.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay star, who married the sister of Jessica Simpson in August, drops other comments about his wife’s hair, eyes and lips.

It begins with Evan walking through a hallway as he heads toward a studio to record music. Various clips show him in loose tops, hats and brief moments where he flashes a smile.

Evan pays an obvious nod to Michael Jackson in a scene where he dons a sequinned jacket and the camera pans to capture what looks like a few seconds of him performing the King Of Pop’s Moonwalk dance.

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And then there are other motifs throughout the video that are seemingly inspired by MJ, including moves like neck snapping, fedora tilting and palm-out hand jabs.

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While the song mostly speaks of his wife, she only makes a camera-shy appearance that shows her filmed from behind wearing a black sequinned top as she gives her husband a casual hug.

Adding further confusion, she wears a dark fuzzy bucket hat that could easily be mistaken for hair, but her blonde locks can be faintly spotted on her shoulder and is the only way to identify her, as her face is never seen.

The reunion lasts a blink of an eye and his mother follows soon after.

The Supremes diva’s time on screen is also cut short, but the video shows her shaking her head and smiling as her son mimes the song’s lyrics—while the recording studio serves as the backdrop.

Evan told People that his ‘perfectionist’ mother would often listen to his album in its infancy and offer her critiques, which possibly inspired the scene.

The 70-year-old made sure not to outshine her son as she scaled back the glamour in a casual black knit cardigan, black blouse and had her face partially obscured by her curls.

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The video ends with Evan walking on a sidewalk with a cityscape as his backdrop.

As the son of a music legend, there are certainly high expectations, but Evan remains undaunted by doubters.

He told People: ‘A lot of people are like, “That’s Diana’s son, what is he going to do?” There’s always been a lot of pressure,’ he said, adding, ‘But at the same time, you’ve got to do your own thing.’

Evan credits his mom for being supportive by listening in on his studio session and said his Pieces Of Me singer wife often bond by singing together.

‘Ashlee enjoys my singing, at least most of the time,’ he said.

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See preview video below:

 

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Legends: Towson University Dance Company Performs To Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson And More

Sources: Baltimore Times | Picture by ismaelalvarez| Edited BY – All Things Michael

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The College of Fine Arts and Communication and the Towson University Department of Dance presents Legends, a dance concert on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 2 p.m. in the Stephens Hall Theatre located at 8000 York Road in Towson.

Legends highlights America’s golden jazz era. Choreographers Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent E. Thomas, and Runqiao Du create a series of soulful vignettes to a collection of music by Neil Simon, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and other 20th Century icons. Featuring French “chanson” music from the 1930’s and 1940’s, C’est le ton qui fait la chanson opens the concert. Choreographed by D.C.’s award-winning choreographer, Christopher K. Morgan (Artistic Director of Christopher K. Morgan & Artists), this wistful, romantic dance delves in the imagery and atmosphere of artwork in the 2011 exhibit, Snapshot: Painters and Photography Bonnard to Vuillard. The concert features performances by the Ballet Repertory classes and Towson University Community Dance.

In addition to C’est le ton qui fait la chanson, the program includes Legends choreographers Runqiao Du, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent E. Thomas, music by Neil Simon, Etta James, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson; The Chopin Collection, choreography by Runqiao Du and music by Frederic Chopin; Waltz from Act I of Swan Lake, choreography by Marius Petipa (Bolshoi version) restaged by Susan Mann with music by Piotr Ilich Tchaikovsky. Lighting design by Rebecca Wolf and original costume design by Kyle Lang.

Dancers from the Towson University Ballet Repertory class include Madison Bonvissuto, Aliyah Caldwell, Rishell Chambers, Gianna Cirillo, Mary Clark, Hailley Miller, Erica Powe, Elizabeth Rumpz, Ashley Thompson, and Anthony Lee. Dancers from Towson University Community Dance include Eleanor Weir, Damontae Bell, Marjorie Bowerman, Tyla Hairston, Sydney Samson, Margaret King, Katherine Nurminsky, Monae Johnson and Ajee Robinson.

Tickets are $20 for regular and $15 for senior citizens; $10 for students. Youth tickets for age 12 and under free with an adult. Tickets are available at the Center for the Arts Box Office located at the corner of Osler and Cross Campus drives. Box Office hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and one hour prior to events. For ticket charges and additional information, please call 410-704-2787. Tickets can be purchased online at www.tuboxoffice.com.

 

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On The Shoulders Of Motown

Sources: The St. Louis American – By Kenya Vaughn | All Things Michael

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“It’s nerve-wrecking, yet honoring,” said Elijah Lewis. “It’s a heavy load to carry, but I feel blessed to be able to share my gift in honoring him as an artist.”

For eight shows a week, Lewis portrays Stevie Wonder in “Motown The Musical.”

The show landed in St. Louis last week and continues at the Fox Theatre through November 30.

Lewis is part of a company charged with the task of capturing the essence of the timeless, iconic music that Berry Gordy used to change the landscape of American popular music more than a half-century ago.

“We played those records every Saturday when we were cleaning up – especially The Temptations because my dad loved them,” said Martina Sykes. She graces the stage as Mary Wells – one of Motown’s earliest stars. “I would love to hear the Jackson 5,” she said, “because we knew when they came on that we were close to being finished.”

Spinning Motown LPs was the standard programming for many Saturday morning chore sessions in households across the nation – and probably the world.

But at the height of its popularity, what would come to be known as “The Motown sound” – and the stars responsible for it – played a pivotal role in permanently dismantling the “race music” status quo.

“I think this musical gives insight on how Motown changed music,” Lewis said. “The music of Motown was not only the soundtrack to many people’s lives, but also the soundtrack for this nation.”

More than five dozen selections accompany the history of the record label that produced some of biggest stars in music history – including Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Wonder – as “Motown The Musical” relives the journey through the eyes of its founder.

“He had this thing called ‘beat the teacher,’ so everybody had to one-up Mr. Gordy – which ultimately made everyone who they are,” Lewis said. “In this musical you get to really see the love, trust and friendship that they had with each other and how they used that to build something that’s still so iconic today.”

As producer of the original Broadway run and the tour and as writer of the book for the musical, Gordy had his hands in “Motown The Musical” as much as he did the label that inspired it.

“The first few weeks of rehearsal Mr. Gordy flew in and said, ‘I want you guys to know that you are a part of the Motown legacy. You are part of Motown’s history. This is not just another play,’” Sykes said.

“He said, ‘We want to do the same thing with this musical as we did with ‘The Motor City Review’ when we went to these cities and performed.’”

Then, she knew “this is not your average Broadway tour,” she said. “That feeling alone is something I can’t even describe with words. You really feel the weight of what you’re doing.”

Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Edwin Starr Jr. Walker and The All-Stars, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Wells, Martha and The Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Gladys Knight and The Pips, The Jackson 5, Rick James, Teena Marie and Jackie Wilson (via Gordy’s early days as a songwriter) are among those given their respective moments in the production.

“Motown The Musical” includes the highs and lows of the label from its inception to the 25th Anniversary in 1983 – including Gordy’s complicated relationship with Diana Ross and how it impacted Motown.

“He has this saying, ‘The truth is a hit,’” Lewis said while laughing. “I hope that everyone understands that Mr. Gordy did all of this out of love – love for Diana, love for Stevie, love for Smokey and all of them – not even thinking Motown would grow into what it became.”

The show has fared especially well with fans in St. Louis, and Lewis believes heavily relying on Motown’s prolific catalog of hits plays a huge role in the warm reception.

“I hope that the older generation will be taken back to a time where all of their fondest memories and where they were when they heard this music,” Sykes said. “And I hope it shows the younger generation the kind of hunger and passion they had back then. Maybe seeing this musical will gives them drive to create something like Motown for the next generation.”

“Motown the Musical” continues through November 30 at The Fox Theatre. For more information, call 314.534.1111 or visit www.metrotix.com.

 

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