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‘Motown the Musical’ moves Detroit

Chester Gregory as Berry Gordy (center right) & Cast MOTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour (C) Joan Marcus, 2017

Chester Gregory as Berry Gordy (center right) and cast of Motown the Musical first national tour  (Photo credit: Joan Marcus)

 

Broadway is back in Detroit with Motown the MusicalRolling out recently caught the show at the historic Fisher Theatre. Giving an intimate view of Berry Gordy‘s trials and triumphs, it tells the true story behind an entertainment industry mainstay. Over 40 classic hits birthed by the multimillion-dollar machine are performed with synchronized dance routines and vibrant vocals. Nearly every element of Motown is highlighted in this dynamic production including icons such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, The Supremes, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye. Production team Holland-Dozier-Holland and session musicians The Funk Brothers are also featured. A bold visionary, Gordy groomed his artists to deliver stellar performances via strict tactics that included vocal coaching, A&R and charm school attendance. He led them to mainstream appeal despite internal and external obstacles.

Directed by Christopher Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical is history told with harmony. Generations who lived through the era and were born during Motown’s evolution will enjoy nostalgic highs and reality baring lows, while learning how Hitsville U.S.A. morphed into a worldwide presence.

Like its namesake, the production illustrates the value of Black culture and heritage. Re-enactments of events from an era when overt racism ran rampant stir up reminders of our past and present day struggles. Gaye was woke long before it became a trend. He insisted on making music reflective of the turmoil in the world. Gordy’s relationships with his artists were complicated, resulting in them striving to create their own legacies. Much of the focus is on his pleasurable business with the original diva, Diana Ross.

The cast’s high energy engages the audience as the actors embody their roles and exude the true essence of the legends they portray. “Motown the Musical” is at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit now through Sunday, April 30. Don’t miss out on this masterpiece!

Photo Gallery Credit: Joan Marcus