Brandon Victor Dixon Talks Legacy of Motown, J5 And More (Video)

Source: Broadway World

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MOTOWN THE MUSICAL star Brandon Victor Dixon appeared this week on WLNY-TV’s ‘Live From The Couch’ to speak with host John Elliott about working with Berry Gordy on the smash hit musical from the very beginning, the historical significance of Motown’s legacy, and bringing that story to Broadway.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, featuring music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy, began performances on Broadway on March 11, 2013 and officially opened April 14, 2013 at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street).

The first national tour of Motown the Musical launches at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre with an engagement from April 22 to July 13, 2014 before continuing across the country, with additional cities to be announced.

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 Gayeye and many more.

Check out the interview below!

 

Read more at Broadway World

Krystal Joy Brown to Take On the Role of Diana Ross in Motown The Musical

Source: Theater Mania

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Motown The Musical has announced that Krystal Joy Brown (Big Fish) will join the cast at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in the role of Diana Ross beginning January 23. Brown inherits the part from the production’s current Diana Ross, Felicia Boswell. Boswell, in turn, took on the role when Tony Award nominee Valisia LeKae exited the production last month after announcing her cancer diagnosis .

With a book written by Berry Gordy, Motown The Musical features songs from the legendary Motown songbook. The musical tracks Gordy’s journey through his career, his marriage to the great Diana Ross, and launching the careers of music icons like Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and many more.

The cast also includes Brandon Victor Dixon (Berry Gordy), Charl Brown (Smokey Robinson), Bryan Terrell Clark (Marvin Gaye), Timothy J. Alex, Nicholas Christopher, Rebecca E. Covington, Andrea Dora, Preston W. Dugger III, Wilkie Ferguson III, Dionne Figgins, Rod Harrelson, Marva Hicks, Afra Hines, Tiffany Janene Howard, Jawan M. Jackson, John Jellison, Crystal Joy, Aaron Kaburick, Mykal Kilgore, Grasan Kingsberry, Jamie Laverdiere, Raymond Luke Jr., Krisha Marcano, Prince George Maynard, Tracy McDowell, Marielys Molina, Jarran Muse, Jesse Nager, Milton Craig Nealy, N’Kenge, Dominic Nolfi, Allison Semmes, Saycon Sengbloh, Ryan Shaw, Eric LaJuan Summers, Ephraim M. Sykes, Julius Thomas III, Rickey Tripp, Nik Walker, Donald Webber Jr., and Lisa Nicole Wilkerson.

http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/01-2014/krystal-joy-brown-to-take-on-the-role-of-diana-ros_67145.html

Motown The Musical Cast Headlines 8th Annual Broadway Toys For Tots Benefit Today

Source: Broadway World

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The Broadway Boys once again host Broadway’s favorite holiday party and concert with the 8th Annual BROADWAY SINGS FOR TOYS: A Benefit for Toys for Tots tonight, December 16 at 7:00pm.

Joining the festivities are Motown the Musical cast members Jesse Nager, also a member of The Broadway Boys; Tony Award nominee Charl Brown; Nicholas Christopher; Rebecca Covington; Marva Hicks; Tiffany Howard; Sasha Hutchings; Morgan James; Crystal Joy, who will sing a duet with her mother, Tony Award® winner Adriane Lenox (AFTER MIDNIGHT); Mykal Kilgore, Raymond Luke Jr.; two-time Grammy Award nominee Ryan Shaw; and Donald Weber Jr., along with former cast members Ariana DeBose and Daniel J. Watts. .

The annual concert is a cocktail party/concert/toy drive that gathers Broadways hottest talent for a dynamic and inspirational concert sure to brighten your spirits!

Broadway Sings for Toys: A Benefit for Toys for Tots will be held at The Cutting Room (located at 44 E 32nd St). Tickets are $20 (with an unwrapped toy) and can be purchased by calling 212-691-1900 or by visiting www.thecuttingroom.com.

As always, guests can expect an amazing concert and a raffle with great prizes. VIP ticket holders will receive a gift bag filled with Broadway and Holiday themed gifts.

Motown the Muscial 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

http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/MOTOWN-THE-MUSICAL-Cast-to-Headline-8th-Annual-Broadway-Toys-For-Tots-Benefit-1216-20131215

“Motown: The Musical” Stars Sing Out!

Source: MyQ105- Bob Berry

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“Motown: The Musical”, the story of the rise of Berry Gordy Jr.’s “Hitsville USA”, has been a smash on Broadway since it opened last spring.

And the biggest buzz has been about the cast members, nailing the essence of some the Motown’s biggest hits and brightest stars.

In this video, recording a montage of  hits in the studio, two performances stood out.

Watch at around :56 second in for young (12 years old) Raymond Luke Jr. channel Michael Jackson on the J-5′s “I Want You Back”. Nice work by “the Jackson’s”, too.

And, at 3:30, Bryan Terrell Clark sings “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, with a sound and feel  just like Marvin Gaye! And that ain’t easy!

Incredible.

The Original Cast Soundtrack CD is available wherever you buy music.  “Motown: The Musical” continues at the historic Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York City, with rumors of a national touring company to come.

Let’s hope so!

http://myq105.cbslocal.com/2013/12/11/motown-the-musical-stars-sing-out/

Watch the Cast of Motown Perform On The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (TV Content)

Source: Broadway World

Saycon Sengbloh & the Cast of Motown rehearse in their coats: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.Source: Saycon Talks Photo: courtesy of Joe Perrotta

Saycon Sengbloh and Cast of Motown rehearse in their coats: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Source: Saycon Talks
Photo: courtesy of Joe Perrotta

Check out video below of the cast of MOTOWN strutting their stuff and singing some of the greatest songs from yesterday’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

http://www.broadwayworld.com/videoplay.php?colid=632760

Motown’s Berry Gordy Set For Sirius XM’s Urban View With Joe Madison

Source: Broadway World

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Motown The Musical creator and legendary Motown record label founder Berry Gordy will appear on an Sirius XM Radio’s “Urban View with Joe Madison” this Friday, November 29 to discuss bringing his musical to the Broadway stage and the cultural legacy of Motown.

The segment will from 9:20-9:40am (EST) on SiriusXM Channel 110 on Friday, November 29 and will be rebroadcast that evening at 11:20pm; on Saturday, November 30 at 5:20am and 2:20pm; Sunday, December 1 at 12:20am & 6:20pm; and Monday, December 2 at 1:20am.

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 FounderBerry 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.

Featuring all the classics you love, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Now, experience the next electrifying chapter in the Motown story, Broadway’s record-breaking smash hit MOTOWN THE MUSICAL!

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL plays Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; Sunday at 3pm; Dark Monday.

  • Week of November 25: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL plays Monday & Tuesday at 7:30pm; Wednesday at 2pm; Friday and Saturday at 2pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm; Dark Thursday (Thanksgiving).
  • Beginning December 2: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL plays Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; Sunday at 3pm; Dark Monday.

Tickets prices range from $72.00 – $147.00 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or visitingwww.ticketmaster.com.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/MOTOWNs-Berry-Gordy-Set-for-Sirius-XMs-URBAN-VIEW-WITH-JOE-MADISON-1129-20131127

Berry Gordy To Be Honored With Another Award, Lifetime Achiever Founded The Careers For Many Famous Artists

Source: New Pittsburgh Courier  - By Steve Holsey    

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It is difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the music industry — and perhaps even Detroit — had there been no Berry Gordy.

The Michigan Chronicle could not have made a decision any wiser than the one to present its 2013 Legacy In Motion Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary Motown Record Corporation founder and former president.

The black-tie event takes place Dec. 7 in the Grand Ballroom of Cobo Center in Detroit.  Gordy will be there to accept the award.

Motown has the distinction of being the most successful Black owned record company in the history of show business. It is also the most written about record company of all time, White, Black or otherwise. There have literally been dozens of books written about Motown, several by the artists themselves.

But perhaps the most important one is Berry Gordy’s autobiography, “To Be Loved,” subtitled “The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown.”

The smash hit stage musical “Motown,” currently playing to packed houses on Broadway, is based on that book.

The impact of Motown was never more clear than when the NBC TV special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” aired on March 25, 1983.

THE RATINGS were through the roof, record sales increased, careers were reinvigorated, and the Motown Museum on West Grand Blvd. — not Motown’s Los Angeles headquarters — was deluged with congratulatory/memory sharing phone calls.

“I was comfortably seated in the balcony at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, waiting for the show to start,” Gordy recalled. “The show was one thrill after another…The topper to ‘Motown 25’ came a few months later in the fall of 1983 when the show was nominated for nine Emmy Awards.”

The special won the Emmy, the most prestigious award in television, in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program category.

Many of the artists who had Motown to thank for their careers were there that night and the list was a lengthy one, including Smokey Robinson, the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Junior Walker, the Commodores, Mary Wells, Michael Jackson, the Jacksons, Martha Reeves, the Temptations and the Four Tops.

Those that were not present, such as Gladys Knight & the Pips and the Marvelettes, were seen in nostalgic film clips.

INTERESTINGLY, when he was a boy, Berry Gordy, Jr. sold the Michigan Chronicle. This followed a stint as a shoeshine stand operator.

There was always a strong entrepreneurial spirit in the Gordy family, cultivated mainly by the patriarch of the family, Berry Gordy, Sr., but also the matriarch, Bertha Gordy. They and their eight children — Esther, Fuller, Gwen, Anna, George, Loucye, Robert and Berry, Jr. — lived on the east side of Detroit.

“From the shoe industry, I turned to journalism, selling the Michigan Chronicle, Detroit’s top colored weekly newspaper,” remembered Gordy.

“One weekend I packed up some papers and went to sell them in the White neighborhood. I figured White people there would probably love to buy them if they got the chance.

“After all, you could always find them hanging out at the Black nightclubs, like the Flame Show Bar or those down in Paradise Valley. I felt that everyone in the world had a lot more in common than they realized.

“Well, I was a big hit and sold more papers in less time than ever before. I decided I could afford to share the wealth and brought my brother down with me the next weekend.

“We did not do well. We both got a hard, fast lesson in race relations. It seemed one precocious little Black kid was cute, but two were a threat to the neighborhood.”

BERRY GORDY started Motown with an $800 loan from a savings fund owned by the Gordy family. Along the way he was assisted and supported by a cavalcade of singers, writers, musicians, producers, executives, friends, family members and others.

Motown’s first million seller was “Shop Around” by the Miracles which debuted on the national charts in December of 1960, peaking at No. 1 on the R&B chart and No. 2 on the Pop chart.

Gordy has special feelings for the Motown Museum, the idea for which was conceived by his sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, a former Motown vice president. It is housed in what had been Motown headquarters (“Hitsville U.S.A.”) at 2648 W. Grand Blvd.

“THE MUSEUM could be the messenger of our history for generations to come,” wrote Gordy. “Not just a history of singing and dancing and building entertainers, but much more — a history of Black entrepreneurship that gave people an opportunity to reach their full potential.

“We had done that at Hitsville, where young people had learned to write, produce, perform, think, make choices. The choices they made and the dreams they followed all contributed to the magic that was Motown.”

Berry Gordy, who is also an accomplished songwriter with many hits to his credit, likened Motown to Broadway.

“I’ve discovered that Motown and Broadway have a lot in common — a family of wonderfully talented, passionate, hard-working young people, fiercely competitive but also full of love and appreciation for the work, for each other and for the people in the audience.”

http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com/index.php/entertainment/19777-berry-gordy-the-ultimate-lifetime-achiever

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Holds Open Call Auditions Today In North Carolina And In Atlanta On November 10

Source: Broadway World

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Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy have announced “Makin’ It Motown,” a nationwide open call casting search for African-American singers for both the Broadway production of Motown The Musical and the upcoming national tour, with a rare opportunity to audition for this hit Broadway musical at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (650 E. Stonewall Street) in Charlotte, NC, today, November 9, and at 14th Street Playhouse (173 14th Street NE, Stage Three) in Atlanta, GA, on Sunday, November 10, in partnership with Fifth Third Bank Broadway in AtlantaThe first national tour will launch in Chicago in April 2014 with Charlotte and Atlanta performance dates to be announced at a later date.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is seeking African-American men and women, ages 20s-40s, with exceptional voices. Also seeking an African-American boy, age 8 to 13, to play young Michael Jackson / Berry Gordy / Stevie Wonder. No prior theatre experience is necessary.

All candidates must have amazing soulful voices to play different performers from Motown history. All vocal parts are encouraged to attend.

CHARLOTTE OPEN CALL
Date: Saturday, November 9, 2013
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm (sign-in begins at 10:00am)
Location: Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte
650 E. Stonewall Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

ATLANTA OPEN CALL
Date: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm (sign-in begins at 10:00am)
Location: 14th Street Playhouse, Stage Three
173 14th Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

What to Bring

1. Bring sheet music for a song of choice from the Motown songbook that best features vocal range.

2. Bring a picture and resume including contact information (cell phone, email) stapled together. A recent snapshot is sufficient in the absence of a formal headshot. An accompanist will be provided.

For more information on the open call auditions visit: http://www.motownthemusical.com/casting.

For details about what to bring and what to prepare, email casting@motownthemusical.com.

Read more: http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/MOTOWN-THE-MUSICAL-to-Hold-Open-Call-Auditions-in-North-Carolina-Atlanta-20131108

‘Motown the Musical’ Holding Auditions In Atlanta

Source: 11Alive – By Beth Sawicki

motownthemusicalATLANTA — Motown the Musical will hold open auditions in Atlanta this weekend.

The auditions will be Sunday, Nov. 10 at the 14th Street Playhouse in Midtown. Sign-in begins at 10 a.m., while the auditions will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Casting directors are looking for black men and women who can sing and dance. They also need black boys between the ages of 8 and 13 to play the roles of young Michael Jackson and Barry Gordy.

Get all the details at motownthemusical.com.

http://www.11alive.com/rss/article/312087/3/Motown-the-Musical-holding-auditions-in-Atlanta

Motown The Musical To Hold Open Casting Calls In Charlotte And Atlanta

Source: Playbill.com – By Adam Hetrick

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Motown the Musical, which is seeking African American actors for the current Broadway and upcoming national tour of the musical, will hold open auditions in Charlotte, NC, and Atlanta, GA.

Motown producers previously held open calls in New York City and Chicago. Upcoming auditions will take place Nov. 9 at the Actors Theatre of Charlotte and Nov. 10 at the 14th Street Playhouse in Atlanta. Both open calls begin at 11 AM.

Producers are seeking “African American men and women, ages 20s-40s, with exceptional voices. Also seeking an African American boy, age 8 to 13, to play young Michael Jackson/Berry Gordy/Stevie Wonder. No prior theatre experience is necessary,” according to a casting notice.

For further information visit motownthemusical.com/casting. For details about what to bring and what to prepare, email casting@motownthemusical.com.

Motown will launch a national tour in Chicago in April 2014.

Auditioning Tips: http://www.chicagonow.com/off-broadway-in-chicago/2013/09/audition-tips-for-musicals-motown-and-more/

For tickets visit Ticketmaster.comVisit MotownTheMusical.com.

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/183699-Motown-the-Musical-to-Hold-Open-Casting-Calls-in-Charlotte-and-Atlanta

Ebony Magazine And The Jacksons To Honor Berry Gordy As Part Of ‘Power 100’ Gala

Source: Washington Post

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NEW YORK — Ebony magazine’s celebration of its “Power 100” list will have a Motown vibe — Berry Gordy is being honored with a lifetime achievement award, the Jacksons will perform in his honor, and the cast of “Motown The Musical” is due to appear, as well.

The Jacksons will pay tribute to the Motown founder at a gala event at Lincoln Center in New York City on Nov. 4. Gordy signed the brothers when they were known as the Jackson 5, led by pre-teen Michael Jackson.

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The event will also honor those who made the list of power brokers in the black community, including President Barack Obama, Kerry Washington, “Fruitvale” actor Michael B. Jordan, Harry Belafonte and others.

Nick Cannon is slated to host the event.  

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/ebony-magazine-jacksons-to-honor-berry-gordy-as-part-of-power-100-gala

 

Darius Kaleb Is A “Little Thriller” As Michael Jackson In Motown Musical

Source: Hudson Reporter – By Joseph Passantino

Darius with castmate Nic Christopher who plays Smokey Robinson

Darius with castmate Nic Christopher who plays Smokey Robinson

For 10-year-old Darius Kaleb, every day is a song and a dance – literally.

That’s because the Secaucus resident goes into New York City several times a week to do something few children his age can do: perform in a Broadway musical.

Not only that, Darius plays the Prince of Pop, Michael Jackson, in the Great White Way production, “Motown, the Musical” at the Lunt Fontanne Theater.

Getting this plum assignment was no walk in the park. Darius was selected after a nationwide search involving thousands.

In the production, Darius plays a young Jackson, a young Berry Gordy Jr. (Motown Records founder), and a young Stevie Wonder. Most of the time on stage, he is singing and dancing. In fact, he performs seven songs, six of them MJ tunes, including the classics, “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There.”

MJ productions

This isn’t the first time Darius has portrayed Jackson in a live show. He also performed in Japan in “Thriller Live/World Tour.” Darius’s high stepping in “Thriller” included the moonwalk and the “lean in” of “Smooth Criminal.” He loves doing the “lean in,” but won’t give up the secret.

“He got to be the first kid ever to do the ‘lean’ on the tour,” said his mom, Denise Harris, “and we’re just ecstatic.”

No training

Harris, of course, is proud as a peacock. But her son’s success doesn’t surprise her.

He has no formal training but comes from a musically talented family, with his older twin brothers, Robert and Ryan, 20, once cast together as a young Simba in “The Lion King.” His great grandfather was also an actor in the 1960s.

Liking Secaucus

Though Darius and his family reside in Charles County, Md., he and his mother have been living in Secaucus during his musical run because of its accessibility to New York City. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t gotten involved in the town, enjoying recreational activities and volunteering his time for a town fundraiser for families displaced by fires.

Does Darius think he’s a star yet?

“Not yet, but there’s a billboard in Times Square waiting for me,” he joked.


Timeless show

For now, Darius must split his role with another actor because of child labor guidelines. And in a short time soon, his job will be over because of how fast children his age grow, and can be replaced. But his family thinks “Motown, the Musical” is ageless.

“The show probably is going to run for a long time, because it brings people back to where they were in history,” Harris said.

20484_227755980709616_694514633_nEnjoying the life

So for now, Darius is enjoying the experience of a lifetime, and relishing it greatly. First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters came to see the show. So did actor Denzel Washington and television personality Star Jones.

999623_235050506646830_940450012_nDarius got to talk with musician Melba Moore and former N.Y. Knick Walt Frazier. He also was introduced to Gordy and Diana Ross, “and a whole lot of Motown artists.”

“There’ve been so many people that he’s had the opportunity to meet,” Harris said.

Enjoying kid things

Darius spends his downtime rooting for his favorite sports teams, the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers.

“I like to play basketball and football,” he said. “I like to watch football at home.”

He even found time recently for a brief, impromptu one-on-one hoop match up with Mayor Michael Gonnelli at the newly renovated Buchmuller Park.

For Harris, Secaucus has always been kind of a second home.

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“It brings people back to where they were in history.”– Denise Harris

Darius and his mother Helen

Darius and his mother Helen

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“When I was younger, we used to always come to Secaucus for the outlets,” she said. “When my older kids had auditions, we would always come and stay in Secaucus, because it was close to the city. I always loved this area.”

Darius and his mom got to meet by Gonnelli by chance, visiting Town Hall for a parking permit, and inquiring about the mayor’s availability for a photo.

“We were hoping he would be gracious enough to take a picture with us,” Harris said. Instead, they got more than they bargained for, with his assistant setting up a time for mother and son to come back to meet and spend time with Gonnelli.

“He’s been so gracious,” she said. “He’s very helpful. Darius calls him ‘the coolest mayor.’ ”

Team effort

Keeping a child on time for his Broadway performances while caring for your abode two states away is done with flexibility and cooperation, according to Harris, and Darius’ dad, Robert, is the other half of that important equation.

“He has been very supportive in Darius’ career,” she said. “He stays behind to deal with maintaining the home. Plus, he comes back and forth to see the performances.”

More to come

But this won’t be the last time people see Darius performing, according to his mother.

“He has something we just got contacted about, but I want to wait until we get the word” before discussing it, Harris said.

Getting paid and gaining fame are great, but for Darius, the importance of his performances boil down to how they make him feel.

“Seeing the audience smiling – it’s awesome,” he said.

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Backstage At Motown The Musical With Charl Brown, Episode 6: Philly Road Trip

Source: Broadway

Charl Brown takes the gang along for a road trip to Philly, learns math with Raymond Luke Jr. (Michael Jackson) and talks childhood meals. Plus the cast celebrates another Saturday Night on Broadway backstage.

Photo Coverage: MOTOWN Launches Casting Search At Lunt Fontanne Theatre!

Source: Broadway World – By Jennifer Broski / Mj-Upbeat

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Photo By Jennifer Broski

Earlier today, Motown The Musical hosted “Makin’ It Motown”- a nationwide open call casting search for African American singers for both the flagship Broadway production and the upcoming national tour, at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre, home of the smash hit musical. BroadwayWorld was there for the special event and you can check out photos below!

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is seeking African-American men and women, ages 20s-40s, with exceptional voices. Also seeking an African-American boy, age 8 to 13, to play young Michael Jackson / Barry Gordy / Stevie Wonder. No prior theatre experience is necessary. Featuring all the classics you love, Motown The Musical tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Now, experience the next electrifying chapter in the Motown story, Broadway’s record-breaking smash hit Motown The Musical!

Photo By Jennifer Broski

Photo By Jennifer Broski

Photo By Jennifer Broski

Photo By Jennifer Broski

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL features arrangements and orchestrations by Tony Award nominee Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who also serves as musical supervisor for the 18 piece orchestra that reproduces the classic “Sound of Young America” for the Broadway stage, with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Tony Award nominee Bryan Crook (“Smash”), dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and music direction by Joseph Joubert (Nice Work If You Can Get It).

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL plays Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; Sunday at 3pm; Dark Monday. Tickets prices range from $57.00 – $147.00 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

To see more pics and info, click here: http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Photo-Coverage-MOTOWN-Launches-Casting-Search-at-Lunt-Fontanne-Theatre-20130913

 

East Stroudsburg Street Dancer Gets A Shot On Stage

Source: Pocono Record – By Andrew Scott

DeQuan Waters-Smith, does a little dance on the corner of North 9th Street and Chipperfield Drive on Wednesday afternoon.

DeQuan Waters-Smith, does a little dance on the corner of North 9th Street and Chipperfield Drive on Wednesday afternoon.

You may not know who DeQuan Waters-Smith is, but you’ve probably seen him.

He’s the young guy who sometimes dances on the sidewalk on Brown Street by Pocono Plaza in East Stroudsburg, or dances in a Cluck U Chicken mascot uniform on Route 611 in Bartonsville.

The shy 23-year-old East Stroudsburg resident said dancing in public is a way to meet people and work on his social skills.

“I’m also hoping people in the entertainment industry notice me, because I’ve always wanted to be in entertainment,” said Waters-Smith, whose highly energetic nature is visible just in the way he walks down the street.

Waters-Smith was born in New York City and raised in the Poconos. After briefly attending college, the Pocono Mountain West High School graduate worked at various jobs, most recently as a factory employee at Johnson & Johnson in Mount Pocono.

His wish to be noticed first came true late last year, when he was offered a chance to be part of a January art show presented by photographic artist Shane Izykowski at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg.

“Shane saw me dancing in the street one day,” Waters-Smith said. “He approached and asked me if I wanted to be in this show he was putting together. I said ‘sure.’ “

The same thing happened later, when producer Michael Moate of Bartonsville was putting together a May comedy show at the Sherman.

“I’ve known DeQuan and his family for a long time,” Moate said. “Everybody loves to see him dance. I saw him one day and asked him to be in my show, and he said ‘yes.’ “

Now, Waters-Smith is one of three Michael Jackson impersonators performing in Saturday’s tribute to the legendary entertainer at the Sherman.

Waters-Smith will be appearing with fellow impersonators Lane Lassiter of Las Vegas, and Jibreel Mawry, who co-starred in Broadway’s “Motown The Musical” and portrays Jackson during his early years with the Jackson Five.

“This is the second year we’re doing the Michael Jackson tribute at the Sherman,” said promoter Colette Logan of Bushkill, founder of C-Lo Entertainment, noting the Saturday show is four days after the June 25 anniversary of Jackson’s 2009 death.

“I’ve known Lane Lassiter for 30 years and reconnected with him on Facebook. I contacted him last year and told him I wanted to do a Michael Jackson tribute for my grandson. He agreed, and the show was such a success we decided to do it again this year.”

But with some additional talent. Logan had seen Waters-Smith dancing at the Wal-Mart in East Stroudsburg and in other areas.

“I was driving one day when I passed him out dancing,” she said. “I turned around, drove back to where he was and talked to him about being in this year’s show.”

Waters-Smith has spent recent weeks rehearsing under the choreographic direction of Stroud Mall security officer Donatien Lake and East Stroudsburg University student Ebony Smith.

“DeQuan has been a great pleasure to work with,” Logan said. “He always has so much energy and enthusiasm. He’s truly a good-hearted person who deserves his big break.”

Waters-Smith is happy to be part of such a project.

“Michael Jackson was a great performer and inspiration,” said Waters-Smith. “Like him, I want to entertain and inspire people. I think this tribute is going to be a great show.”

michael%20jackson%20webgraphic1

WHAT: Michael Jackson Tribute Show

WHEN: Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m.; show starts at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Sherman Theater, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg

COST: $23.95

INFORMATION: 570-420-2808

WEBSITE:http://www.shermantheater.com/

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID

Motown: The Musical Cast Album Will Be Released in June

Source: Playbill.com - By Adam Hetrick

MotownTheMusicalThe original Broadway cast album for Motown: The Musical, featuring new renditions of hits from Motown Records, will be released June 4 by Universal Music Enterprises, Playbill.com has confirmed. 

The cast, who inhabit such musical icons as Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five, recorded the album earlier in the week of April 22. 

Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple, The Scottsboro Boys) and Valisia Lekae (Ragtime, The Book of Mormon) co-star as Gordy and Diana Ross, respectively. Gordy, who also authored the book to Motown, produces the musical along with Tony winner Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q) and Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.

Charles Randolph-Wright directs Motown, which officially opened April 14 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

The musical features such songs as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Get Ready,” “I Hear a Symphony,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “I’ll Be There,” “I Want You Back,” “My Girl,” “My Guy,” “Please, Mr. Postman,” “Sign, Sealed, Delivered,” “Stop in the Name of Love,” “Super Freak,” “The Love You Save,” “What’s Going On?” and “Where Did Our Love Go?”

The cast also features Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry sharing the roles of young Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Berry Gordy, with Bryan Terrell Clark as Marvin Gaye and Charl Brown (Jersey Boys, Sister Act) as Smokey Robinson.

http://www.playbill.com/news/article/177332-Motown-The-Musical-Cast-Album-Will-Be-Released-in-June

Motown Memories: Barry Gordy On Love For Diana Ross, Argument With Marvin Gaye, Didn’t Like Stevie Wonder’s Voice And How Michael Jackson Used To Stare At Him

Source: CBS This Morning

“I took some risks, and they all paid off, big time,” said Berry Gordy. “I mean, really big time.”

Berry Gordy just wanted his own record label. But Motown became a sound — a sound that tore through the racial divide in the Sixties and took black culture into White America deeper than it ever had before.

At the peak of its influence in the Sixties and early Seventies, Motown scored more than a hundred Top 10 hits. “We had a rule that if you got a hit with an artist, [the songwriters] would automatically get their next record,” Gordy told Mason.

Now, at 83, Gordy is working on a new Broadway production that will tell the story of Motown on stage. He’s spent the past five years on the project.

Does he feel pressure? “It’s less pressure than I had with Motown,” he said, “because I didn’t know where I was going with Motown.”

Gordy once said he’d started out writing songs to get girls. “My thought was make the music, make the money, and get some girls. That was it. Not necessarily in that order,” he laughed. 

In 1959 Gordy, who’d written hits for Jackie Wilson, borrowed $800 from his family to start his own label. He called the Detroit house he set up shop in “Hitsville U.S.A.”

One of the first groups he signed was The Miracles.

The original Miracles: Gordy told Anthony Mason that when he first met Smokey Robinson he recognized his great talent: “He was a wonderful poet, but he couldn’t write. He didn’t know how to write songs. They would go on and on and on, for days. So I really taught him how to write a simple song — front, middle and end.”
Smokey Robinson’s song “Shop Around” would become Motown’s first million-seller in 1960.

“I met a guy called Smokey Robinson who had great talent,” Gordy recalled. “He was a wonderful poet, but he didn’t know how to write songs. They would go on and on and on, for days ! And so I really taught him how to write a simple song — front, middle and end.”

Smokey’s song, “Shop Around,” would be Motown’s first million-seller in 1960. “I could see right away that he was starting to get better than me,” Gordy said.

“Well, how’d you feel about that?” asked Mason.

“It was hard to believe it at first!” he laughed.

Hitsville quickly became a hit factory, based on Gordy’s experience working in a Ford plant: “I got an idea for this assembly line. I’d see cars come in one door, a bare metal frame, and then [go out] another door a brand new car. So I said, what if I could do that with music?”

Gordy literally groomed his artists. Motown taught them how to dress, how to dance, how to perform.

He initially shied away from children at the label. “The first kid was Stevie Wonder. I wanted him. But after I got him, I didn’t want him!” he laughed. “You know, tutors, chaperones . . . “

Little Stevie Wonder was 11 when he signed with Motown, in 1961. Gordy says, however, that when he first hired him he didn’t like Wonder’s singing — he’d signed him for his harmonica playing. “His first record we put out was a harmonica solo,” he told Mason.

Little Stevie Wonder was 11 when he signed with Motown in 1961. Gordy says he didn’t sign him for his singing. “I didn’t like his singing. I liked his harmonica playing. His first record that we put out was a harmonica solo.”

Motown’s management would meet regularly to vote on what records to release. Gordy called it “quality control.”

“Well, a lot of fights,” he clarified. “We fought for what we believed in. You could say what you felt, and if it was against me, and they checked me on that many times.”

Marvin Gaye, who’d started out singing jazz standards at Motown, butted heads with Gordy over “What’s Goin’ On.”

Marvin Gaye, who’d started out singing jazz standards at Motown, butted heads with Gordy.

“I had a big fight with Marvin Gaye about him doing a protest album,” Gordy said. “I said, ‘Why would you do a protest album?’”

“You were worried it’d ruin his reputation,” Mason asked.

“Yeah, I said, ‘What about your image?’ He said, ‘I don’t care about any of that, man. Image? I got a brother in Vietnam.’”

But Gordy was surprised by the response to the record. “And extremely happy! So when the record became the biggest record in our history at that time, I came to him and said, ‘Man, you were right.’ I learned a lot.” 

As Gordy learned from Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson would learn from Gordy. The Jackson 5 signed with Motown in 1969.

The first album by the Gary, Indiana-based soul band The Jackson 5 was released by Motown in 1969, titled “Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5.” Though Ross did not have a hand in discovering the group, Gordy asked her if she would mind offering her name to their debut, and she agreed. The album topped Billboard’s R&B chart for nine weeks.

Gordy called the youngest member of the group a “genius.”

The Jackson 5 had four Billboard Number One hits at Motown, and six R&B Number One hits, including “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Dancing Machine.” The group signed with CBS Records in 1975.

“You saw the perfectionist in him right at the beginning?” Mason asked.

Gordy called the youngest member of The Jackson 5 a genius. “But I was worried,” he said. “Because it was like an old man in a kid’s body.”

“It was like an old man in a kid’s body. He would always watch me, what I was doin’. The other kids might be playing. He was always, like, staring at me. And it was kind of spooky, ’cause I would look back and he would, like, be trying to figure out what I was saying. Studying me.”

The Jackson 5 (from left, Tito, Jackie, Michael, Marlon and Jermaine) pose with their platinum records. Behind them stand the producers and songwriters dubbed “The Corporation” — Deke Richards, Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell.

The Jackson 5 perform.

Berry Gordy on stage at “Motown 25,” a 1983 TV special to celebrate the record label’s quarter-century anniversary. From left: Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Claudette Robinson, Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Richard Pryor and Marvin Gaye. Credit: Berry Gordy

Motown’s biggest stars are all represented in the new Broadway musical. Gordy said when he saw the woman playing Diana Ross come on stage, “it was really tough for me not to kiss her!”

Gordy fell hard for the lead singer of The Supremes.

The Supremes, one of the biggest acts in the history of the record label Motown.

“I was madly in love with Diana Ross. She was the big star of my life,” he said.

Their five-year romance began after a concert in Paris:

“And that first night, I tried to make love to her and nothing happened. And that was like the most embarrassing thing in my life, because when you think of somebody who’s the princess, who was the Queen of your life, your mind plays tricks on you,” Gordy said.

“Of course, she made a joke out of it, which we use in the play: ‘Well, you could look at it this way: At least you have the power over everything else.’”

Mason asked why Gordy took on writing the musical. “Why? Because I know the story better than anyone. I lived it. So why shouldn’t I write it?”

“And you feel at times you’ve been misunderstood?”

“Very few people thought a black kid from Detroit could do Motown without being a gangster or in the Mafia or anything like that,” Gordy said.

Berry Gordy sold the business in 1988. But the musical is still his story:

“All this is a labor of love, everything I’ve done,” he said during rehearsals. “This is probably the last thing I’ll do.”

More than a production, it’s a celebration of music that changed America.

“I’m in heaven, you know? So I’m not sure I want to do this again,” he laughed. “But it is a dream come true for me.”

Click here to view videohttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57577147/berry-gordy-recreates-the-legend-of-motown

‘Motown: The Musical’ Actors Raymond Luke Jr. And Jibreel Mawry Discuss Their Roles

Source: Huffington Post – By Mark Kennedy

This March 25, 2013 photo shows actors Jibreel Mawry, left, and Raymond Luke Jr. posing outside the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York, where their show “Motown: The Musical,” is playing. The two 12-year-olds are alternating taking on the roles of young Michael Jackson, young Stevie Wonder and a young Berry Gordy. (AP Photo/Mark Kennedy)

NEW YORK — If making your Broadway debut at age 12 doesn’t sound scary enough, imagine doing it in an iconic role. Now triple it.

That’s what Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry are facing. They’re taking turns portraying a preteen Michael Jackson, a young Motown founder Berry Gordy and an adolescent Stevie Wonder in “Motown: The Musical.”

“It’s a big step,” acknowledges a soft-spoken Jibreel backstage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. “We went from local performances around town to Broadway.”

The musical portrays Motown’s first 25 years through the eyes of Gordy and is punctuated with a stunning collection of vintage hits and energetic dance numbers.

Jibreel, from Detroit, and Raymond, from Los Angeles, beat hundreds of hopefuls in a national search and now find themselves sharing a tiny dressing room in New York, juggling schoolwork and keeping up with last-minute changes to the show.

“I don’t think either one of them had ever seen a Broadway show prior to this,” says director Charles Randolph-Wright. “So to all of a sudden be starring in this show where you can’t get a ticket, in a theater with 1,500 seats, it’s quite a different thing from being in your high-school auditorium or the mall.”

A recent visit backstage revealed two happy, polite and remarkably talented youngsters. The door of Room 14 has both an official sign with their names in typeset letters and a homemade one just below with the word “Motown” in bright colored-in letters and their signatures.

Just as a visitor knocked, the sound of the boys singing was heard. They weren’t belting out Katy Perry or Kanye West. It was a pretty great version of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray.”

“We have a lot of fun in here,” says Raymond.

Of the three roles they play, Michael Jackson is the toughest, requiring the most singing and dancing, including several classic Jackson Five hits like “I Want You Back” and “The Love You Save.”

They’ve studied footage of Jackson as well as his influences, including Jackie Wilson and James Brown. “Michael is someone who felt the music. He WAS the music,” says Raymond.

Adds Jibreel: “He was always so smooth onstage. He held back when he was offstage, but then when that spotlight hit him onstage, he was a whole different person.”

Jibreel was introduced to Jackson’s music at age 5 by his mother and has made several appearances mimicking the King of Pop. He helped teach Raymond the finer points, including to keep smiling and to keep moving.

“I wasn’t comfortable with smiling. I was the kind of singer that just stands still,” says Raymond. Of his co-star, he adds admiringly: “When he’s Michael, he’s like a whole other Michael. He’s like Michael Jr.”

Jibreel, whose YouTube handle is JuniorMJ1000, auditioned by sending in a video but, just to be sure, his family drove him to New York to audition in person as well. He was called back to join a workshop and then finally this winter got word he had landed the Broadway gig.

“I didn’t believe it when my mom told me,” he says.

Raymond, who led his church choir at 8, auditioned on camera in Los Angeles, singing “I Want You Back,” “Loving You” and “I’ll Be There.” He was invited to New York to show off his stuff and was then offered the job just before Christmas break.

His mom got the call. “I just remember her crying, `You made it! You made it!’” he recalls. “I’ve been singing since I was 3, so it’s kind of amazing for me to actually be here. C’mon? New York? Broadway? That’s amazing.”

Randolph-Wright helped cast the show and sifted through audition videos as well as visiting Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles to see candidates up close. He says he knew he had found gold as soon as Jibreel and Raymond walked in.

“It’s daunting to have to play any one of those three characters. To have to do all three of them is, of course, insane,” he says. “It’s thrilling to see them grow and change and discover what it means to be on Broadway.”

Both hope a show-biz career awaits them. Raymond is a veteran of Toys R Us and Volkswagen commercials, and Jibreel plans on finishing his debut album of pop and R&B songs.

Each boy has a parent in the city watching over him, as well as Lisa Swift, their teacher, who tries to squeeze in as many online lessons as possible in between choreography tuneups. Jibreel, in sixth grade, and Raymond, in seventh, are required to get three hours of schooling for every day of classes they miss.

The show keeps changing – a recent cut scrapped the only young Stevie Wonder tune “Fingertips” from the musical – and yet the boys still keep their sense of humor.

Inadvertently funny things said backstage get written on a quote board tacked to a wall in their dressing room. One entry gently needles their good-natured teacher. “Ms. Lisa,” Raymond once said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still bring it.”

The same, it could be said, applies to Raymond and Jibreel.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/motown-the-musical-actors-raymond-luke-jibreel

 

Michael Jackson Hits Broadway! – First Look at Motown: The Musical

Source: People.com - By Stephen M. Silverman

Raymond Luke Jr., as Michael Jackson (left), and the real Jackson Andrew Eccles; REX USA

When Motown: The Musical begins performances on Broadway March 11, Michael Jackson won’t be there only in spirit.

The King of Pop will be right on stage – portrayed by an actor, as will several of the other big-name powerhouses from the fabled Detroit hit factory: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and their ’60s record label’s founder, Berry Gordy. (They can all be seen in a first-look video clip of the show, exclusive to PEOPLE.com.)

Raymond Luke Jr. plays the young Jackson, who, as part of the Jackson Five with his four older brothers, was signed by Gordy in 1968, when Michael was only 10 – the same age Luke, who is now 12, was when he started “studying” the genuine Jackson.

“I didn’t know Michael Jackson [when I was 8],” admitted the L.A. native, whose grandmother first taught him to sing when he was 3, “then I started looking him up.”

A graduate of the Beverly Hills Acting School FABA (For Actors by Actors), and already a veteran of Toys “R” Us and Volkswagen commercials, Luke says, “I wanted to be a singer, but I never knew this musical was going to happen and that I’d get to sing about six to eight Michael Jackson songs” – including “I Got the Feelin’,” “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There.”

Neither did Luke know that out of hundreds for hopefuls who were seen by Motown: The Musical director Charles Randolph-Wright – both live and on audition videos – he’d be the one to land the plum role. (He’ll alternate performances with another child actor, Jibreel Mawry, whom Luke calls “amazing.”)

“Michael Jackson had intensity and a confidence, combined with a naiveté. He was almost hypnotic in his allure,” Randolph-Wright tells PEOPLE. “You can’t replicate one of a kind, but Raymond has that spirit, that feeling Michael Jackson gave you. He makes you smile.”

Living in Brooklyn with his father, Raymond Sr., while his four siblings remain out west, Luke considers making his Broadway debut “fun” – especially, he tells PEOPLE, when he wears his favorite costume, Jackson’s purple hat and bellbottoms, just like Michael did on The Ed Sullivan Show to sing “Who’s Loving You?”

For Randolph-Wright, Luke is “authentic.” And should any of Michael’s children come see the show? “It would be amazing,” Luke exclaims. “I want to make his family proud.”

Motown: The Musical, featuring the Motown music catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy, begins previews March 11 at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, with an official opening April 14.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20676278,00.html

Broadway’s Motown: The Musical Finds Its Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder

Source: Theatre Mania – By David Gordon

Young actors Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry will take on the roles of the legendary singers.

Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry (Photos courtesy of the production)

After a nationwide talent search, actors Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry have been tapped to share the roles of Young Berry Gordy, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder in the upcoming world premiere Broadway production of Motown: The Musical. The production begins previews March 11 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it will open on April 14.

 Like and Mawry will make their Broadway debuts with the musical, which features a book by Motown founder (and legendary record producer) Berry Gordy, direction by Charles Randolph-Wright (Guys and Dolls), and a score culled from the hits of the illustrious Motown music catalogue. Luke’s stage credits include the Tammi Mac Minute Mixer and the films Bad Father and Failure is Not an Option. Detroit native Mawry is an advocate and peer mentor for the “Artist in Action: Stand Up Against Bullying” Initative, as well as a co-host of “Ye TV.”

Additionally, previously announced Motown ensemble member Brian Terrell Clark will take on the role of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” singer Marvin Gaye. Clark has appeared opposite Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett in the Pasadena Playhouse production of Fences, as well as the on the television shows The Unit and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. He has performed with artists including Ne-Yo, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, and more.

Motown: The Musical stars Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) and Valisia LeKae (The Book of Mormon) will star as Berry Gordy and Diana Ross. The 40-member ensemble also includes Timothy J. Alex, Nicholas Christopher, Rebecca E. Covington, Ariana DeBose, Andrea Dora, Preston W. Dugger III, Wilkie Ferguson, Dionne Figgins, Marva Hicks, Sasha Hutchings, Lauren Lim Jackson, Morgan James, John Jellison, Crystal Joy, Grasan Kingsberry, Marielys Molina, Sydney Morton, Jarran Muse, Jesse Nager, Milton Craig Nealy, N’Kenge, Dominic Nolfi, Saycon Sengbloh, Ryan Shaw, Jamal Story, Eric LaJuan Summers, Ephraim Sykes, Julius Thomas III, Daniel J. Watts, and Donald Webber, Jr.

On the creative end, the show features choreography by Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams, scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical), costume design by Tony Award nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), lighting design by Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Once), sound design by Tony Award nominee Peter Hylenski (Rock of Ages), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Jekyll and Hyde), arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Crook (Smash), dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and music direction by Joseph Joubert (Nice Work If You Can Get It).

http://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/02-2013/broadways-motown-the-musical-finds-its-michael-jac

Broadway Star Brandon Victor Dixon Talks Portraying Legendary Motown Creator Berry Gordy — EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Source: Entertainment Weekly.com/Popwatch – By Erin Strecker

Image Credit: Andrew Eccles

Berry Gordy…boxing champion?

Not many people know that prior to founding Motown, Gordy was a featherweight boxer. But it’s just that idea that’s behind an EW exclusive promo image from the new Broadway show Motown: The Musical, which tells the real-life story of Gordy and feature hits from Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and many others. Gordy will be portrayed by Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple), also in the photo (left).

“Boxing is one of those things [Gordy] has a love for. [It also represents] his drive and success; he’s a fighter ready to take on the world,” Dixon told EW.

Getting to bring that iconic music to life once again is a dream come true for Dixon. “Michael Jackson has always been my greatest inspiration,” Dixon said. “The Jackson 5 were really my conduit to Motown. Berry Gordy has always been this hazy legendary figure that I’ve known about in my childhood that was responsible for everything that I found important in the world.”

And Dixon is guessing that many fans are going to agree with him about fond memories of Motown. “Everyone you talk to in the world, whether they know it or not, because the catalog is so vast, a lot of times people have favorite songs that are Motown songs that they didn’t even know were Motown songs,” Dixon said. “[People] get that moment in time and they remember, Oh, yeah, when My Girl came out I was at so-and-so’s place… I want to evoke those memories again; I want it to come alive again. The biggest thing Motown did was change our social fabric; the way we interacted with each other as human beings. There is a lot of tension in the world, a lot of strife. A lot of what goes on in the world has people thinking about what makes us different. I hope that our show is able to remind people of what makes us the same.”

http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/01/15/motown-the-musical-berry-gordy/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm

 

 

 

 

STAGE TUBE: Berry Gordy And Cast Talk MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL

Source: Broadway World

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL founder Berry Gordy as well as the show’s cast, and creative team discuss the highly anticipated musical, coming to Broadway this spring. “I turned my story into a Broadway because I felt that all of the incredible fans and all of the world deserved to hear the real story of how Motown happened,” explains Gordy. Check out the interviews below!

Featuring all the classic songs you love, Motown: The Musical tells the incredible true story of how Motown founder Berry Gordy became the music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.

Motown: The Musical is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed America 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 and The Supremes, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye and many more.

Motown: The Musical tells the gripping story behind the hits as Smokey finds his unique voice, Diana skyrockets to stardom and Berry fights against the odds to turn his improbable dream into a triumphant reality. The music that shattered barriers and shaped our lives finally comes to the Broadway stage in the season’s most highly anticipated world-premiere event.

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown: The Musical will feature a book by Berry Gordy and music and lyrics from the Motown legendary catalogue. Motown: The Musical’s creative team will also feature scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Tony Award nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, Topdog/Underdog), lighting design by Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Once, Sister Act), sound design by Tony Award nominee Peter Hylenski (Rock of Ages, The Scottsboro Boys) and choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Blues in the Night) and Warren Adams (Toy Story). The 18 piece orchestra will be supervised by Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages) who will reproduce the classic “Sound of Young America” for the Broadway stage.

Read more: http://broadwayworld.com/article/STAGE-TUBE-Berry-Gordy-Cast-Talk-MOTOWN-THE-MUSICAL-20130102#ixzz2GqzAgPtP

Audtions Dates For Michael Jackson Role In “Motown The Musical”

Source: Backstage News – By Daniel Lehman

Actors across the country can relive the birth of Motown and rise to stardom with the likes of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson in a new Broadway musical based on the life and career of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Casting director Bethany Knox of Telsey + Company is touring the country to cast the world premiere Broadway production of “Motown: The Musical,” featuring music and lyrics from the eponymous record label’s catalog and a book by Gordy himself. Open calls will be held in November and December in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Motown’s hometown of Detroit.

The producers announced in August that Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (“The Color Purple”) will star as Berry Gordy opposite Valisia LeKae (“The Book of Mormon”) as Diana Ross, but several iconic roles are still available.

Knox is looking for adult actors who can match the physical and vocal styles of Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson to portray these legendary recording artists as young men, as well as an 8- to 11-year-old boy to play Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Berry Gordy as children. In addition, an attractive female singer with a slender build and “an amazing pop singing voice” who moves very well will cover Diana Ross and other featured ensemble roles, and a male bass singer will play various featured ensemble parts.

The producers are seeking African-American singers for all roles. No prior theater experience is required.

Open call auditions for the above roles will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, at Winans Academy of Performing Arts in Detroit and at Telsey + Company in New York City; Saturday, Nov. 10, at Hollywood Methodist Church in L.A.; Sunday, Nov. 18, at Lou Conte Dance Studio (a.k.a. Hubbard Street Dance) in Chicago; and Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Performers should prepare a Motown song that shows their range. Both Equity and non-Equity actors will be seen at all of the above audition locations.

Actors who cannot attend these auditions may upload a video audition to YouTube to be considered. To submit an audition video for young Michael Jackson, actors should record themselves performing “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There,” or “Who’s Loving You.” For all other roles, performers should sing a song from the Motown songbook.

For more information and audition details, visit MotownTheMusical.com and view the full casting notices online at Backstage.com.

“Motown: The Musical” is scheduled to open Sunday, April 14, 2013, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway, following preview performances that begin Monday, March 11. Rehearsals begin mid-January in New York City. Gordy is producing the show with Kevin McCollum and Doug Morris. The production will be directed by Charles Randolph-Wright (“Ruined,” “Dreamgirls”), who also directed a workshop of the musical in New York earlier this year.

http://www.backstage.com/news/casting/your-chance-play-michael-jackson-broadway/