Motown the Musical is playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre located at 203 West 46th street. The musical runs two hours and fifty minutes with one intermission. It is an open ended show.
The show is based on Motown founder Berry Gordy. On January 12, 1959 he found Tamla Records with a loan of $800.00 from his family, marking the start of Detroit’s “Motown Records Corporation”. The music hit the airwaves in 1959. It launched the careers of Diana Ross and The Supremes, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye and many more.
Brandon Victor Dixon was nominated for a Tony Award in 2006 for “The Color Purple”. In 2010 he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for “The Scottsboro Boys”.
The ensemble consists of forty actors.
The musical opens in 1983 at the twenty fifth anniversary party for Motown. It then goes back to 1938 and works its way back to 1983.
Berry Gordy (Brandon Victor Dixon) works on the auto assembly line. He quits his job to write music. With the financial help of his family he starts his own music company. Smokey Robinson (Charl Brown) works with him. The musical shows who he has on his label and how the company grows. Songs are sung from these artists.
Along the way the musicians are lured away from Motown with promise of more money.
The company moves to California. Berry gets involved in producing “The Lady Sings the Blues” with Diana Ross.
Berry only love interest mentioned besides his ex wife is Diana Ross (Valisa LeKae).
Marvin Gaye (Bryan Terrell Clark) is married to his sister.
The show mentions the bigotry in the music industry. White radio stations would not take the records saying white audience would not like black music. They should go to a black radio station. Berry convinces them to try it.
It is amazing to see such a large cast come together. There are too many to mention. But they were all great.
Brandon Victor Dixon is extraordinary in this role. His voice comes from his soul. Brandon singing is breath taking. WOW.
Valisia LeKae is excellent as Diana Ross.
Carl Brown is convincing as Smokey Robinson. He is funny and a great singer.
Bryan Terrell Clark as Marvin Gaye is outstanding. He shines when he sings “What’s Going On”.
Raymond Luke Jr. as Michael Jackson sings like he is twenty. Did I tell you say he was twelve years old? What a great voice.
The songs are done well but if you know the original singers it sometimes hard to adjust to the new rendition. But it still sounds good. The song I like done best was War, the presentation and dance routine were great. The words still ring true.
The only scene I did no know why it was in ,was when he decides to have a physical relation with Diana. They show them in bed. Why mention as they put it they were both tired and nothing happened. Who cares and why brag about it.
This is a good show down memory lane. For those of you that are too young to know the music it’s a great introduction to some of the best music ever performed.
Why buy a CD when you can see Motown live.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich
Photos by Annazor.
To read an interview with the cast, scroll down to the left to recent photos. Click on recent photos fr this and other shows.