Universal Music Releases MOTOWN ORIGINALS: THE CLASSIC SONGS THAT INSPIRED THE BROADWAY SHOW
With a sound that has become one of the most significant musical accomplishments and stunning success stories of the 20th century, the timeless music of Motown continues to be embraced by every generation and will now be immortalized on Broadway.
In conjunction with the opening of this season's most highly anticipated Broadway world premiere event, Motown: The Musical, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will release Motown Originals: The Classic Songs That Inspired The Broadway Show! digitally on Tuesday, March 5th and at retail on Tuesday, March 12th, featuring the original Motown recordings, by the original artists, that inspired the musical.
Motown: The Musical is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy's incredible 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 so many more. Featuring all the classics you love, Motown: The Musical tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America that shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat.
Motown, of course, stands for more than just its historic music. The label and its remarkable legacy is a reflection of the hard work of dedicated individuals overcoming incredible obstacles to achieve great success. Nearly a half-century ago, on January 12, 1959, to be exact, a young African-American songwriter named Berry Gordy founded Tamla Records with a loan of $800 from his family, marking the birth of the "Motown Records Corporation." A man of vision, drive, talent and determination, Gordy was also a producer, innovative entrepreneur, and teacher. The phenomenal success of Motown is a tribute to all that he embodies and all the talent that he nurtured and helped develop. Under his leadership, and through determination and support of the Motown family of creative artists, Gordy forged new ground for minorities and made the "Motown Sound" a worldwide phenomenon beloved by millions, and the Motown brand a true global cultural icon.
And as the perfect companion piece to Motown: The Musical, Motown Originals: The Classic Songs That Inspired The Broadway Show! will be released as both a single disc collection and an expanded, two-disc collection featuring the original recordings that not only inspired the musical but influenced a nation.
The special two-disc, expanded version of Motown Originals: The Classic Songs That Inspired The Broadway Show! features over 20 additional tracks including Motown's very first national hit, "Money (That's What I Want)" by Barrett Strong. This 1960 hit single was co-written by Gordy and helped fund the purchase of the iconic white framed house, "Hitsville U.S.A.," that served as a twenty-four hour hit-making and artist development factory, fostering the artistic talent of the singers, writers, producers as well as corporate executives, and was headquarters for the next decade.
Following the Broadway opening of Motown: The Musical, UMe will also release the Original Cast Recording that will feature the show's talented team of actors singing classic Motown songs and recreating the story of "Hitsville U.S.A."
Directed by Charles Randolph Wright, with a book by Berry Gordy, Motown: The Musical 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), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Jekyll and Hyde).
Motown: The Musical features arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who will supervise the 18 piece orchestra and reproduce the classic "Sound of Young America" for the Broadway stage, with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Crook ("Smash"), dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and music direction by Joseph Joubert (Nice Work If You Can Get It).
In its classic era-the seminal music scene of the 1960s-Motown's artists were among the most popular, establishing a standard of excellence and sophistication that has never been surpassed. Calling itself "The Sound of Young America," the instantly recognizable and often-imitated Motown Sound blended distinctively passionate singers, the call-and-response vocal arrangements of the African-American church tradition, pop music sensibilities, jazz virtuosity and irresistible rhythms, overlaying them with timeless songwriting.
Today, the label is part of the Universal Music Group, with its classic catalog managed by Universal Music Enterprises (UMe). The label's catalog is unparalleled. The legendary Motown vault is continually explored to unearth previously unheard material. Both are warmly welcomed by a legion of fans and collectors around the world.