BREAKING NEWS: MOTOWN Will Conclude Broadway Run Early on July 31

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THIS JUST IN: The Broadway return engagement of Motown the Musical, the last stop on the First National Tour, will play its final performance at The Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41st Street) on Sunday, July 31, 2016.

The Motown the Musical producers said, “We promised that the hit show would return to New York following the profitable engagement that finished on Broadway in January 2015. Now, after the launch of a record-breaking London company and a hugely successful, sold-out First National Tour, we are delighted that this amazing company of actors and musicians has been able to bring the production full circle back to Broadway where the production began, for the final stop of the tour.”

Motown The Musical features the music of the legendary Motown catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy, stars Chester Gregory as Berry Gordy, Allison Semmes as Diana Ross,Jesse Nager as Smokey Robinson, Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye, and J.J. Batteast and Leon Outlaw, Jr. as Young Berry Gordy/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson.

Motown The Musical concluded its original world premiere Broadway engagement in January 2015 following 775 performances at The Lunt Fontanne Theatre.

The first National Tour opened to critical acclaim in Chicago in April 2014, and played a standing room only sixteen-week run before going on to break box office records and receive rave reviews in major cities across the country for the last three years and over 900 performances.

The London production of Motown the Musical opened in February to critical acclaim and has extended into 2017 at The Shaftsbury Theatre. In only three short years since its first performance, Motown the Musical has already, around the world, grossed over $300 million at the box office and sold 2.5 million tickets.

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, The Supremes, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and many more.

Motown The Musical is produced by Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy.

Tickets for Motown the Musical can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929.

 

Read more at Broadway World

Funky Turns 40: Historical Black Cartoon Exhibit At Pensacola Museum of Art

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The FUNKY TURNS 40: BLACK CHARACTER REVOLUTION exhibition has been available for circulation to museums nationwide through 2017. The exhibit, which started in 2014 in New York, will be featured at the Pensacola Museum of Art through April 9.

This special exhibition commemorates the 40th anniversaries of 1970’s Saturday Morning cartoons that featured positive Black characters for the first time in television history, such as “Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids,” “The Harlem Globetrotters,”  “The Jackson 5” and many more.  The exhibition includes original production cells and drawings used to produce these cartoons. Also included are images from the animated opening to Soul Train and two of the few Black cast/Black focused animated features that have been produced since the 1970′s, BeBe’s Kids (1992) and Our Friend Martin (1999).

You’ll see original pencil drawings of characters from your favorite shows, as well as animated production cells that jump with that special tint of ’70s color. The hand drawn and inked cells used in the animation production process of the 1970’s represent a lost art form compared to today’s digitally created cartoons. Multi-media screens show excerpts from the shows.

Pensacola New Journalist, Troy Moon writes about how these cartoons opened his eyes to black culture as a kid:

We had a few black kids that went to school with us, but just a few. Yes, we were the same — I’ve always believed that. But we were different, too. And when you’re faced with stale and pale, different is good. But as a child in the 1970s, those differences weren’t always celebrated in my redneck of the world.

Then, I heard the Jackson 5. Sure, Donny Osmond was fine. But that little Michael Jackson youngster? He oozed kid cool. The moves. The funky fashions. The funky hair……….A year later, 1972, 10-year-old me was introduced to a whole gang of black friends courtesy of “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”  Albert — “Hey Hey Hey!”, Weird Harold. Mushmouth, Bill, Rudy. They were regular young people, having regular young people fun. Strange, it took cartoons to bring that normalcy to the forefront in my white world.

The 60 Works of Art Featured in the Exhibition
Represent Several Historical Firsts:

  • First positive Black male character – first positive Black male musician in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Peter Jones – The Hardy Boys (1969)
  • First positive Black male character – first positive Black male athlete in a Primetime cartoon series – Freight Train – Where’s Huddles (1970)
  • First positive Black cast Saturday morning cartoon series – first positive Black cast Saturday morning cartoon series featuring Black athletes – Harlem Globetrotters (1970)
  • First positive Black female character – first positive Black female musician in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Valerie Brown – Josie And The Pussy Cats (1970)
  • First positive Black cast Saturday morning cartoon series featuring Black musicians – The Jackson 5ive (1971)
  • Longest running positive Black cast Saturday morning cartoon series – Fat and the Cosby Kids  (1972-1984)
  • First truly multicultural Saturday morning cartoon series – first Saturday morning cartoon series featuring Black characters to be created from a syndicated comic strip, Morrie Turner’s Wee Pals – Kid Power (1972)
  • First Schoolhouse Rock episode to feature Black Characters – I Got Six (1973)
  • First Black character to appear in a Peanuts television cartoon special – Franklin Armstrong – There’s No Time For Love Charlie Brown (1973)
  • First positive Black character from a television series to appear as the same character in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Lt. Uhura – Star Trek (1973)
  • First Black male superhero character in a cartoon – second Schoolhouse Rock episode to feature Black Characters – Verb (1974)
  • First Black male superhero character in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Hong Kong Phooey (1974)
  • First Black male character to appear in an Archies Saturday morning cartoon series – Chuck Clayton – The U.S. Of Archie (1974)
  • First Black female superhero character in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Astrea – Space Sentinels (1977)
  • First positive cartoon series featuring Black characters to be created from a series of children’s books –Ted and John Shearer’s Billy Jo Jive book series – Aired as segment during Sesame Street  –
    Billy Jo Jive (1978)
  • First Black superhero duo in a Saturday morning cartoon series – First Black Husband and Wife superhero duo in a Saturday morning cartoon series – Segment in Tarzan and the Super 7  – Superstretch and Microwoman (1979)

The 60 pieces are from the Museum Of UnCut Funk collection, one of the world’s most unique and extensive collections of original animation production cells and drawings from 1970‘s. Pamela Thomas is the curator of the Museum.

To see the exhibit, visit the Pensacola Museum of Art.

getTV To Air Black History Month Programming Featuring The Jackson 5 And More

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getTV will be honoring Black History Month in February with a lineup of shows that will feature rare interviews and performances by African-American icons. Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are just a few that will be featured this month.

The kicks off begins on February 1 at 9 p.m. EST with “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” with special guests Michael Jackson at age 14, with his brothers the Jackson’s and Governor Ronald Reagan. The show originally aired January 2, 1972. The Jackson 5 performed “Lookin’ Through The Windows” and “Ben.”

The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour – Season 2 featuring The Jackson 5 And Ronald Reagan – February 1st –  9:00 PM eastern & 12:00 AM eastern; February 5th – 2:00PM eastern; February 7th – 10:00AM eastern

(The following shows are also featured at other times throughout the month)

February 1

The Merv Griffin Show Featuring Richard Pryor, Phil Spector, And Eartha Kitt – 10:00PM/ET & 1:00AM/ET

February 15

The Bing Crosby Special Featuring Bob Hope, Diana Ross & The Supremes, And José Feliciano – 9:00PM/ET & 12:00AM/ET

The Merv Griffin Show Featuring Woody Allen, Hedy Lamarr, Moms Mabley, And Leslie Uggams – 10:00PM/ET & 1:00AM/ET

February 22

The Andy Williams Kaleidoscope Company Featuring Ray Charles, Burt Bacharach, Simon & Garfunkel, And Mama Cass –  9:00PM/ET & 12:00AM/ET

The Merv Griffin Show Featuring Aretha Franklin And George Hamilton – 10:00PM/ET & 1:00AM/ET

February 29

The Judy Garland Show – Season 1 Featuring Lena Horne And Terry-Thomas – 8:00PM/ET & 11:00PM/ET

The Dionne Warwick Special: Souled Out Featuring Burt Bacharach, Glen Campbell, And Creedence Clearwater Revival – 9:00PM/ET & 12:00AM/ET

The Merv Griffin Show Featuring Martin Luther King, Jr. And Harry Belafonte – 10:00PM/ET & 1:00AM/ET

getTV will also showcase the career of Sidney Poitier on Friday, February 19th. The tribute will start at 8 p.m. eastern with “All The Young Men,” followed by “The Bedford Incident” at 10:05 p.m. and “The Bedford Incident” at 2:40 am.

Find the getTV channel by state here (US only).

Bass And Saxophone Musician Wilton Felder Dies

Sources: LA Times | All Things Michael

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Bass and saxophone player Wilton Felder, who was an original member of the Crusaders and performed on hundreds of recordings with artists such as Joni Mitchell and Michael Jackson, has died at his home in Whittier. He was 75.

The cause of his death Sunday was complications from cancer, said his son, Wilton Felder Jr.

Felder was in high demand for recording sessions; it’s him on bass for the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” album and numerous tracks by Mitchell.

“She’s a phenomenal composer and person,” Felder said of Mitchell in a 2006 interview with the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. “Her music is just fun to play.”

Felder also recorded with B.B. King, Randy Newman, Nancy Wilson, Steely Dan, Barry White, Cat Stevens and many others, on saxophone as well as electric bass.

Mike’s Daily Jukebox called Felder:

“One of the greatest saxophone players and bassists of the 70’s and 80’s. He left his mark on music history with some of the biggest hits of the decade. Remember that incredible bass line in “I Want You Back”? It looked like Jermaine Jackson was playing, but it was studio musician, Wilton Felder. How about that nasty funk on Marvin’s “Let’s Get It On” and “I Want You”? All done by Wilton Felder.”

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Sources: LA Times | Mike’s Daily Jukebox| All Things Michael

Essential Musical Acts Of The ’70s

Sources: CNN – By Brandon Griggs | All Things Michael

The Jackson 5

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This Motown family made history by being the first recording act whose initial four singles — “I Want You Back,” “The Love You Save,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There” — all hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts. Powered by the soprano of a little, prepubescent Michael Jackson, the five Jackson brothers became one of the first black acts to achieve huge success with white audiences. With their costumes, youthful looks and synchronized dance moves, the Jacksons also paved the way for such boy bands as the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and the Jonas Brothers.

Learn more about the music of the 1970s in the season finale of “The Seventies,” which airs Thursday, August 13, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

Read more here

Top 20 Essential Boy Band Songs

Sources: Billboard – By Jason Lipshultz | All Things Michael

It’s Boy Band Week on Billboard.com! Let’s kick things off with the 20 boy band songs you need to know and love.

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If you love the warm embrace of pop music, it’s easy to understand the appeal of boy bands — collections of (mostly) young males crooning about love and heartache, all while smoldering and winking in ways that drive audiences wild. Boy bands aren’t all about image, though, and have been responsible for some of the most enduring singles in the history of the genre. From the Motown of the 60’s to the teenybopper 90’s to the U.K. invasion of the 2010’s, boy bands continuously impact our culture — and these 20 songs are a big reason why we keep giving them opportunities to shine.

In celebration of boy bands as part of 2015 Boy Band Week, Billboard is presenting an editorial countdown of the 20 essential boy band songs! (NOTE: this list defines ‘boy band’ as a vocal group in which the majority of members are not playing other instruments, which is why you won’t see artists like the Beatles, the Monkees, Hanson or the Jonas Brothers on this list.)

1. The Jackson 5, “I Want You Back”

The boy band formula was perfected early on by the Jackson 5, who combined smooth moves, soaring harmonies and grinning bubblegum in ways that have been replicated for 45 years. “I Want You Back” is a love song aimed at young females, but it is also universal, including all listeners by hiding the heartache in a lip-smacking funk riff and seamless chord progression. “I Want You Back” is a towering pop treasure, and one that boy bands will always view as a blueprint to success.

 

See the full list at Billboard

Tito Jackson Remembers The Jackson 5’s Big Break On The Ed Sullivan Show In 1969

Sources: Telegraph – By Tito Jackson | All Things Michael

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This photo was taken in December 1969, when all of us were really too young to understand the impact of what was about to happen. Jackie was 18, I was 16, Jermaine was 15, Marlon was 12 and Michael – who was just magical that day – was 11.

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Ed Sullivan was the big variety host of his day, a TV hero, and all the big entertainers of the time went on his show. Every family in America tuned in on Sunday evenings right after dinner, desperate to see the next big musical sensation. Sonny and Cher had been on, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones… and the first time I saw the Beatles was on The Ed Sullivan Show.

At that point we were all fearless, we were just doing what we did, but Jackie, Jermaine and I knew it was the perfect time to show the public what we could do. We knew it could be our big break and that we needed to do an A1 job. Before the show I remember us all going out and picking our outfits at a fashion store called First Equals, and by the day of the show we’d rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed so although we were nervous, once we hit that stage and loosened up we did our job.

Ed Sullivan came out, talked very briefly to us and then we performed three songs – I Want You Back, ABC and The Love You Save – and there were no glitches; at that time we were so polished that we just knew we had to capture the audience. That was our job and the audience loved it, and although we got a lot of promotion from the show we knew that was only the platform to build upon. We understood that there was a lot more work to be done.

There were many more shows to do, to constantly promote and market ourselves, things like American Bandstand and The Carol Burnett Show. We did all of those shows but none of them ever quite matched the excitement or impact of that night at the Ed Sullivan studio in New York. Our performance helped launch our first two singles and we didn’t look back from there.

It has been nearly six years since Michael’s death, and all of us brothers still see a lot of each other. We started touring again a few years back and right now we’re working on a new record and we’re all doing well. It feels great to still be making music 46 years after the picture was taken, and I’m loving sitting back a bit more and enjoying the fans, the travelling, the recording and the performing. It’s all great fun right now.

Interview by Nick McGrath

 

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World Music Day 2015: Bands That Define Their Generation

Sources: International Business Times – By  | All Things Michael

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In many ways, Music does make the world go round; it brings the world together, regardless of language barriers, racial differences and geographical distances. Sometimes, music defines a generation or an era and the musicians, who make such impactful music, are remembered even beyond their time.

They are some of the many reasons we celebrate World Music Day on Sunday, 21 June. In this article, we have listed the bands that define their generation.

Although music groups like the Barbershop Quartets and Sweet Adelines quartets existed since the 1930s, it was in the 1960s that music began to transcend time and geography.

1960s

The Beatles: Even after five decades, the English rock band from Liverpool is considered the greatest music group of all time. The Beatles members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are household names and icons for anyone remotely interested in music, with “Hey Jude”, “Love me do”, and “Yesterday” still ringing in fans’ ears.

The Jackson 5: Formed in 1964, initially under the name Jackson Brothers, this family band is the main reason behind the world getting its King of Pop Michael Jackson. “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” are among the Jackson 5’s most popular songs that still resonate with music lovers around the world.

1970s

Menudo: The Puerto Rican boy band formed in 1977 may not be remembered by many now, but it is what put heartthrobs like Ricky Martin and Darco Rosa in the map.

1980s

New Kids on the Block: NKOTH is an American boy band that was assembled in 1984 and consisted of brothers Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood. They were among the few American bands of the 80s that were capable of gaining worldwide popularity with their catchy songs “Summertime”, “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “Step By Step”.

Salt-N-Pepa: Cheryl James (“Salt”) and Sandra Denton (“Pepa”) formed their band with Latoya Hanson (who was later replaced with Deidra Roper) in 1985, becoming one of the first all-rap female bands. Their “Push It” is still very popular and was even covered by “Glee” in Season 1, while “Let’s Talk About Sex” was covered by Treblemakers in “Pitch Perfect”.

1990s

Destiny’s Child: Along with being the band that introduced Queen ‘B’ Beyoncé Knowles to the world, Destiny’s Child is also the group that sang so much about feminism that women finally began to consider it as cool. The soulful R&B song, “Survivor”, gave little girls reason to think of women as strong and independent. Songs like “Independent Women”, “Happy Face” and many others also had the same effect.

Backstreet Boys: AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell shot to fame in 1993, and reached the kind of stardom, which all celebrities wish for, in just a couple of years. Songs like “I Want it that Way” and “Everybody” became anthems for young boys across the world to get girls swooning in a short span.

Spice Girls: Melanie Brown (“Scary Spice”), Melanie Chisholm (“Sporty Spice”), Emma Bunton (“Baby Spice”), Geri Halliwell (“Ginger Spice”), Victoria Beckham and née Adams (“Posh Spice”) became a global phenomenon as soon as their first single, “Wannabe”, was released in 1996 and every girl was soon taking quizzes to see which spice girl they were.

NSYNC: Every 90s kid will have an NSYC story to share. Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass became popular with “Bye Bye Bye”, which is still as catchy as it was a decade ago.

2000s

Maroon 5: Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, Mickey Madden and Ryan Dusick are all childhood friends, and their chemistry and combined love for music strikes a chord with the fans when they see them perform. With songs like “Moves Like Jagger” and “One more Night”, Maroon 5 made their way into millions of hearts worldwide.

Las Kethup: The Spanish family pop girl group, founded by flamenco producer, Manuel “Queco” Ruiz got worldwide popularity, but only for a short span of time. Their first single, “The Ketchup Song”, which was released in 2002, is still considered an iconic number and is played at dance parties even today.

2010-Present

One Direction: Simon Cowell may be rude as hell on X-Factor, but he sure knows the formula for success and stardom. He picked out five contestants, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik (not a member since March 2015) and Louis Tomlinson, who failed their individual auditions and made a world-dominating band, “One Direction”, out of them. They are some of the most influential people in the world currently and their fandom is only getting bigger by the day.

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