Sources: OCRegister – Jackie Moe | All Things Michael
As soul singer Marvin Gaye puts it: “Ain’t nothing like the real thing.” This may be true, but “Motown the Musical” may be a close second.
Paying tribute to the life and legacy of Motown founder Berry Gordy, the first national tour of the Broadway hit production “Motown the Musical” will make its way to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for 16 shows in 10 days, starting Tuesday. The musical is fresh off engagements at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and San Diego Civic Center.
The show tells the story of the groundbreaking label that began in Detroit as a small independent company and grew into a multi-million-dollar empire that launched a plethora of music superstars. The 85-year-old Gordy did not take a backseat in the musical production; in addition to being a co-producer of the play that is based on his autobiography, he also co-wrote three new songs for the piece.
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, the show features more than 40 classic hits performed by actors that are nearly indistinguishable in appearance from the real artists.
“Gordy has always been a hero and an idol of mine, so working with him has been extraordinary because I had the chance to hear about his journey through him,” said Randolph-Wright in a recent phone interview, “As a director, I am supposed to take the writer’s words and his journey and put it on stage, so that was very exciting for me to be able to tell the story that he wanted and to see him so thrilled by it.”
The musical spans six decades of Motown history, chronicling Gordy’s journey that includes the highs and lows of what he went through to build a new culture of music in times of harsh racial segregation.
“There’s a moment when Martin Luther King is killed and the song ‘What’s Going On?’ articulates that better than anything you can imagine. Watching this young cast perform this really resonates,” Randolph-Wright said.
“There are also points that are more joyous. When Michael Jackson comes onstage, the roof blows off the theater. I’ve never seen that before; no matter what city we’re in, there’s no way you can be quiet when that happens.”
The audience will hear hits such as “Dancing in the Street,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Music icons including Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson have their own time in the spotlight as their stories are told through their music…..
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