Motown: The Musical
Motown: The Musical is a jukebox musical that premiered on Broadway in April 2013. The musical is based on Berry Gordy's autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown (1994), and on the history of his founding and running of the Motown record label, and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson. The production's music and lyrics are taken from selections from the Motown catalog. It received four nominations at the 67th Tony Awards.
|Motown: The Musical|
|Basis||To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown by Berry Gordy|
|Productions||2013 Broadway |
2014 US Tour
2016 West End
2016 Broadway remount
2018 UK Tour
Motown: The Musical premiered on Broadway, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, on April 14, 2013, after previews starting on March 11. The production was directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox, scenic design by David Korins, costumes by ESosa, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound design by Peter Hylenski, and projection design by Daniel Brodie.
The musical finished its original Broadway run on January 18, 2015, closing after 37 previews and 738 regular performances.
A national tour began in April 2014, featuring Clifton Oliver and Allison Semmes.
After speculation that a London production would be staged in the Dominion Theatre, which will be refurbished after We Will Rock You closes, an eventual West End production was announced in May 2015 for the Shaftesbury Theatre, which began on February 11, 2016 and will run until 20 April 2019. The West End production is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, who also directed this musical on Broadway and its US tour. The cast stars Cedric Neal (as Berry Gordy), Lucy St. Louis (as Diana Ross), Sifiso Mazibuko (as Marvin Gaye), and Obioma Ugoala (as Smokey Robinson). A UK and Ireland tour began on 11 October 2018 at The Alexandra, Birmingham.
In 1983, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, recording stars are gathered to celebrate Motown Records' 25th anniversary. In a flashback, the young Berry Gordy watches the neighbors dancing in Detroit. In 1957, the adult Berry forms his own record label, and begins to make lifelong friends with recording artists/singers such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. Berry discovers the Supremes and Diana Ross, among many others.
The recording stars sing their popular numbers, including: Diana Ross ("I Hear a Symphony", "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You", and "You're All I Need to Get By"), Stevie Wonder, The Supremes ("Buttered Popcorn", "Where Did Our Love Go"), The Miracles ("Shop Around"), The Marvelettes ("Please Mr. Postman"), Mary Wells ("Bye Bye Baby"/"Two Lovers Medley"), The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas ("Dancing in the Street"), The Contours ("Do You Love Me"), and The Jackson 5.
|Character||Broadway (2013)||U.S. Tour (2014)||West End (2016)||U.K. Tour (2018)|
|Berry Gordy||Brandon Victor Dixon||Clifton Oliver||Cedric Neal||Edward Baruwa|
|Marvin Gaye||Bryan Terrell Clark||Jarran Muse||Sifiso Mazibuko||Shak Gabbidon-Williams|
|Smokey Robinson||Charl Brown||Nicholas Christopher||Charl Brown||Nathan Lewis|
|Diana Ross||Valisia LeKae||Allison Semmes||Lucy St. Louis||Karis Anderson|
|Young Berry Gordy/Young Michael Jackson/Young Stevie Wonder||Raymond Luke Jr./Jibreel Mawry||Reed L. Shannon||Eshan Gopal||Joshua Vaughn|
|Leon Outlaw, Jr.||Kwame Kandekore||Keiran Edwards|
|Joshua Tikare||Mickell Stewart-Grimes|
The musical contains a total of 66 songs. The following song list is not the order of the songs in the production:
- "ABC" (music by Alphonso J. Mizell, Freddie Perren, Berry Gordy Jr., and Deke Richards; lyrics by Mizell, Perren, Gordy, and Richards)
- "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (music by Valerie Simpson, lyrics by Nickolas Ashford)
- "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (music by Norman J. Whitfield; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "All Night Long (All Night)" (music by Lionel Richie; lyrics by Richie)
- "Baby I Need Your Loving" (music by Brian Holland and Herbert Lamont Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" (music by Whitfield; lyrics by Barrett Strong)
- "A Breathtaking Guy" (music by Smokey Robinson; lyrics by Robinson)
- "Brick House" (music by Richie, Ronald LaPread, Walter Orange, Milan Williams, Thomas McClary and William King; lyrics by Richie, LaPread, Orange, Williams, McClary and King)
- "Buttered Popcorn" (music by Gordy and Barney Ales; lyrics by Gordy and Ales)
- "Bye Bye Baby" (music by Mary Wells; lyrics by Wells)
- "Can I Close the Door" (music by Gordy and Michael Lovesmith; lyrics by Gordy and Lovesmith)
- "Come See About Me" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "Cruisin'" (music by William Robinson and Marvin Tarplin; lyrics by W. Robinson)
- "Dancing in the Street" (music by Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter and William Stevenson; lyrics by Gaye, Hunter and Stevenson)
- "Do You Love Me" (music by Gordy; lyrics by Gordy)
- "Fingertips, Part 2" (music by Clarence O. Paul and Henry Cosby; lyrics by Paul and Cosby)
- "For Once in My Life" (music by Orlando Murden and Ronald Miller; lyrics by Murden and Miller)
- "Get Ready" (music by Smokey Robinson; lyrics by Robinson)
- "Give It to Me Baby" (music by Rick James; lyrics by James)
- "Good Morning Heartache" (music by Ervin M. Drake, Dan Fisher and Irene Higginbotham; lyrics by Drake, Fisher and Higginbotham)
- "Got a Job" (music by Smokey Robinson, Gordy and Tyran Carlo; lyrics by Robinson, Gordy and Carlo)
- "Hail to the Beat" (music by Gordy and Lovesmith; lyrics by Gordy and Lovesmith)
- "The Happening" (music by Dozier, Brian Holland and Frank De Vol; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "Happy Birthday" (music by Stevie Wonder; lyrics by Wonder)
- "Hey Joe (Black Like Me)" (music by Gordy and Lovesmith; lyrics by Gordy and Lovesmith)
- "How High the Moon" (music by Morgan Lewis; lyrics by Nancy Hamilton)
- "I Can't Get Next to You" (music by Whitfield; lyrics by Strong)
- "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "I Got a Feeling" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "I Hear a Symphony" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (music by Whitfield; lyrics by Strong)
- "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (music by Whitfield and Cornelius Grant; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "I Want You Back" (music by Perren, Mizell, Gordy and Richards; lyrics by Perren, Mizell, Gordy and Richards)
- "I'll Be There" (music by Hal Davis, Gordy, Bob West and Willie Hutch; lyrics by Davis, Gordy, West and Hutch)
- "It's What's in the Grooves That Counts" (music by Gordy and Lovesmith; lyrics by Gordy and Lovesmith)
- "Lonely Teardrops" (music by Gordy, Gwendolyn Gordy Fuqua and Carlo; lyrics by Gordy, Fuqua and Carlo)
- "Love Child" (music by R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Joan Pamela Sawyer and Richards; lyrics by Taylor, Wilson, Sawyer and Richards)
- "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "The Love You Save" (music by Perren, Mizell, Gordy and Richards; lyrics by Perren, Mizell, Gordy and Richards)
- "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" (music by Gaye; lyrics by Gaye)
- "My Girl" (music by Ronald White and Smokey Robinson; lyrics by White and Robinson)
- "My Guy" (music by Smokey Robinson; lyrics by Robinson)
- "My Mama Done Told Me" (music by Smokey Robinson, Gordy and Carlo; lyrics by Robinson, Gordy and Carlo)
- "Please Mr. Postman" (music by William Garrett, Georgia Dobbins, Brian Holland, Freddie Gorman and Robert Bateman; lyrics by Garrett, Dobbins, Brian Holland, Gorman and Bateman)
- "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" (music by Simpson; lyrics by Ashford)
- "Reach Out I'll Be There" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "Reet Petite" (music by Gordy and Carlo; lyrics by Gordy and Carlo)
- "Remember Me" (music by Simpson; lyrics by Ashford)
- "Shop Around" (music by Smokey Robinson and Gordy; lyrics by Robinson and Gordy)
- "Shotgun" (music and lyrics by Junior Walker (Autry Dewalt))
- "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (music by Wonder, Syreeta Wright, Lee Garrett and Lula Mae Hardaway; lyrics by Wonder, Wright, Garrett and Hardaway)
- "Square Biz" (music by Mary C. Brockert and Allen Henry McGrier; lyrics by Brockert and McGrier)
- "Stop! In the Name of Love" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" (music by Gaye, George Gordy and Stevenson; lyrics by Gaye, Gordy and Stevenson)
- "Super Freak" (music by James and Alonzo Miller; lyrics by James and Miller)
- "The Tears of a Clown" (music by Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Cosby; lyrics by Robinson)
- "To Be Loved" (music by Gordy, Fuqua and Carlo; lyrics by Gordy, Fuqua and Carlo)
- "Two Lovers" (music by Smokey Robinson; lyrics by Robinson)
- "War" (music by Whitfield; lyrics by Strong)
- "What's Going On" (music by Renaldo Benson, Alfred W. Cleveland and Gaye; lyrics by Benson, Cleveland and Gaye)
- "Where Did Our Love Go" (music by Brian Holland and Dozier; lyrics by Edward Holland, Jr.)
- "Who's Lovin' You" (music by Smokey Robinson; lyrics by Robinson)
- "You Are You" (music by Gordy; lyrics by Gordy)
- "You're All I Need to Get By" (music by Simpson; lyrics by Ashford)
- "You're Nobody till Somebody Loves You" (music by James Cavanaugh, Russ Morgan and Larry Stock; lyrics by Cavanaugh, Morgan and Stock)
- "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (music by Smokey Robinson; lyrics by Robinson)
Charles Isherwood, in his review for The New York Times, wrote: "More than 50 songs...are performed in 'Motown,' usually, alas, in truncated versions. Most are simply presented as concert versions by the actors playing the artists who made them famous, but a few are shoehorned awkwardly into the story as 'book' songs.... Making way for so much music means that 'Motown' breezily scrimps on storytelling. Characters come and go so quickly we barely have time to register their famous names, let alone get to know them.... The performers put their songs across with verve and an admirable lack of self-consciousness, given that the audience is likely to be intimately familiar with every nuance of phrasing from the original recordings...."
The TheatreMania reviewer noted:
Rather than giving us a complex portrait on this fascinating businessman, the show's shoddily written book is essentially a self-serving theatrical memoir in which Gordy gets to tell his life story. But just as importantly, the piece also serves as a celebration of the music that brought America's black and white populations together in a way nothing else ever did. Perhaps that is why Gordy and his creative team, led by director Charles Randolph-Wright, seem so worried they left out an audience favorite that they crammed in more than 50 hits. The result is that too few of the beloved Motown classics receive the kind of full-scale, all-out renditions they deserve. An early, extended version of Martha & The Vandellas' 'Dancing in the Street' proves not just a high point (abetted by energetic choreography from Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams), but a false promise of what lies ahead....The one person who truly shines, though, is Valisia LeKae as Gordy's longtime paramour, superstar Diana Ross. It's not just her almost spot-on re-creation of Miss Ross' breathy voice and steely demeanor that commands our attention. The consistent display of her genuine star power — most evident in a thrilling 'Reach Out and Touch' segment — also draws us in.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2013||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Valisia LeKae||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Charl Brown||Nominated|
|Best Orchestrations||Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook||Nominated|
|Best Sound Design of a Musical||Peter Hylenski||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outstanding Actress in a Musical||Valisia LeKae||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Raymond Luke Jr.||Nominated|
|Theatre World Award||Valisia LeKae||Won|
|Fred and Adele Astaire Awards||Outstanding Choreographer in a Broadway Show||Warren Adams & Patricia Wilcox||Nominated|
|Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show||Eric LaJuan Summers||Won|
- Haithman, Diane (December 11, 1994). "Talk! In the Name of Love". Los Angeles Times.
- Isherwood, Charles (April 14, 2013). "'Motown: The Musical,' Berry Gordy's Story". The New York Times.
- Hetrick, Adam (April 14, 2013). "'Hail to the Beat': 'Motown: The Musical' Opens On Broadway April 14". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 5, 2013.
- McCollum, Brian (February 7, 2013). "Berry Gordy's 'Motown: The Musical' preparing to make Broadway debut". Detroit Free Press.
- Hetrick, Adam & Gioia, Michael (January 18, 2015). "Motown Moves Out; Hit Broadway Musical Closes With Promise of 2016 Return". Playbill.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Hetrick, Adam & Gans, Andrew (April 21, 2014). "'Motown' National Tour Extends Chicago Engagement to August". Playbill.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Baron, Tricia. "'Motown The Musical' Celebrates Its Second Broadway Opening" theatermania.com, July 15, 2016
- "Motown Sets Dates and Theatre for Broadway Return". Playbill. December 6, 2015.
- Viagas, Robert (July 21, 2016). "Breaking: Broadway Motown Announces Closing". Playbill.
- "'Motown: The Musical' boogies into Dominion after We Will Rock You?". What's On Stage. March 11, 2014.
- "Motown the Musical to open at the Shaftesbury Theatre". London Theatre. May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
- Desk, BWW News. "MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Will Play Final West End Performance 20 April 2019". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
- "Casting Announced for Motown The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre". October 5, 2015. Retrieved October 6, 2015.
- Saltzman, Simon (April 13, 2013). "Review: 'Motown: The Musical'". CurtainUp.
- "Broadway 2013" ibdb, retrieved December 30, 2018
- "Motown: The Musical — Songs". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- Lipton, Brian Scott. "Review. 'Motown: The Musical'" theatermania.com, April 14, 2013