By Laurence Washington
THE MOTOR CITY – Motown founder Berry Gordy’s 1994 autobiography (“To Be Loved”), turned Broadway musical, travels back to Hitsville’s glory days–1960s to early 1970s in “Motown The Musical.”
From the Temptation’s “My Girl” to Marvin Gaye’s breakthrough album “What’s Going On,” more than 50 Motown juke box memories will fill the Buell Theatre March 31 to April 19 as the Tony nominated Broadway production begins its national tour in the Mile-High City. As a bonus, on April 1, audience members are invited to participate in Q&A with cast members including Clifton Oliver and Allison Semmes who star in the leading roles as Berry Gordy and Diana Ross.
“Motown The Musical” begins in 1984 towards at the end of the dwindling Motown Sound. A distraught Barry Gordy Jr. broods over the decline of his musical empire. Embattled by lawsuits, defecting groups and deciding whether to participate in an upcoming Motown television special, Gordy laments back to Motown’s beginnings.
Through medleys and truncated Motown’s hits, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” “Get Ready” and other Hitsville staples, “Motown The Musical” storyline follows Gordy’s journey from a failed boxing career and borrowing $800 from his parents to start Motown Records. A move that produced mega hits for Motown legends Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson Five. The 2013 Broadway hit is punctuated with Barry’s personal and professional triumphs, failures and relationships.
And of course, there’s the music that blended R&B and Rock that inspired a generation.
If You Go:
What: Motown The Musical
Where: The Buell Theatre 14th & Curtis St., Denver
When: March 31-April 19 (Tues-Sun 7:30 p.m. / Sat & Sun 2 p.m.)
Tickets: $25-$115 (Save 15% service fee if purchased @ Box Office)
Running Time: 2 hrs. 40 min. (Includes intermission)
Box Office: 303-893-4100
Top 10 Greatest Motown Songs:
Songs are based on critical/musician acclaim and initial and lasting popularity and influenced lasting popularity and influence.
1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
2. My Girl – The Temptations
3. Reach Out I'll Be There – The Four Tops
4. Where Did Our Love Go? – The Supremes
5. What's Going On? - Marvin Gaye
6. Dancing in the Street - Martha & The Vandellas
7. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
8. Superstition - Stevie Wonder
9. Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes
10. My Guy - Mary Wells
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