THEATRE LOVER MOM: MOTOWN: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman
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 and officially opened April 14, 2013 at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46th Street),
The first national tour of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is launching this spring in Chicago at The 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 culture forever. The show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy’s impressive 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.
The story, however, doesn’t much matter, nor does the lack of dramatic tension or emotion. The audience comes to party and dance in their seats to the music….and there’s plenty of that going on.
The talented cast knocks it out of the ballpark….especially Julius Thomas III who played Berry Gordy the evening I saw the show. His rendition of “Can I Close the Door,” a song I’m not familiar with, was a heartfelt, impressive, standout. And, Krystal Joy Brown as Diana Ross has a real star-turn and is especially engaging when she interacts with the audience. As Marvin Gaye, the charismatic Bryan Terrell Clark also delivers big time.
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL’s creative team features choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Blues in the Night) and Warren Adams (Toy Story), scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Tony Award® nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, “Project Runway”), 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 projection design by Daniel Brodie (Jekyll and Hyde).
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL features arrangements and orchestrations by Tony and Grammy 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 on Broadway from Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; Sunday at 3pm; Dark Monday. Broadway ticket prices range from $72.00 – $167.00 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at 877-250-2929 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.