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Play Review

Friday, 24 October, 2014 1:08 PM

'Motown The Musical' is a crowd pleaser at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit

Photo ©Joan Marcus

Patrice Covington as Martha Reeves (center) & Cast "Motown The Musical" First National Tour

 

 

by Gloria Rzucidlo
gloria@americajr.com

 

 

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Motown: The Musical is a smash hit in Detroit, the town where it all started. The musical is based on Berry Gordy's autobiography, "To be loved: the Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown." Berry Gordy is a songwriter, producer, director, innovative entrepreneur, teacher and visionary and has won many awards during his career such as the 2013 Marian Anderson Award, BET's Achievement Award and Major League Baseball's 2014 Beacon of Change Award. His films include "Lady sings the Blues" and "Mahogany."

The play begins in 1983 when Berry Gordy celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Motown Records. Then backtracks to 1938 when young Berry wanted to be a boxer like Joe Louis (after watching the heavyweight fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling). When that fizzled out, he calls on his family to borrow him money to start a record company. He wants $1,000, but his mother gives him $800. Then he tries to think of a name for his record company such as Motor City, Motor town city, and eventually came up with Motown Records. The rest is history.

Motown: The Musical starred Clifton Oliver as Berry Gordy, Allison Semmes as Diana Ross, Nicholas Christopher as Smokey Robinson and Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye. The role of young Berry was played by Leon Outlaw, Jr.

Berry Gordy signed on such famous artists as: Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Four Tops, just to name a few. There were about 60 songs performed, while the audience sang along and clapped to many of them.

Over 7,500 people have auditioned for the show at open calls held in New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Charlotte. The national tour travels with 33 actors, 15 crew members, 10 musicians, and 3 stage mangers. Local crew members and musicians join the touring company in each city. The production travels from city to city on 8 semi-trailer trucks.

The costumes were fantastic as there were many costume changes. There was a 15-minute intermission between the two acts. The show lasted two hours and 45 minutes. A fog machines was used during the performance.

I thought the story and the music was fantastic, the best I've seen. I would definitely recommend it. Just remember to get your tickets early, it sells out fast!

Ticket prices begin at $49.35 - $142.90. The show runs from October 21, 2014 through November 16, 2014. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, the Fisher Theatre Box office or by phone at 1-800-982-2787. The Fisher Theatre is located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit.

Related Stories: Review: 'West Side Story' is entertaining at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit; PLAY REVIEW: 'Sister Act' is fabulous at Detroit's Fisher Theatre; Review: 'Menopause the Musical' is hilarious at the Fisher Theatre in Detroit

 

 

Photo ©Joan Marcus

Clifton Oliver as Berry Gordy and Allison Semmes as Diana Ross

 

Photo ©Joan Marcus

The Temptations in "Motown the Musical" First National Tour

 

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