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I'LL BE THERE, The Four Tops Musical, to Have Pre-Broadway Run in Detroit

The jukebox musical will premiere in the birthplace of Motown.

I'LL BE THERE, The Four Tops Musical, to Have Pre-Broadway Run in Detroit

The Detroit Free Press reported The Four Tops jukebox musical, I'll Be There is currently setting its sights on the Motor City as its pre-Broadway destination. The show is looking to open in Detroit, at the Fisher Theatre, in the fall of 2022.

When speaking with DFP, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Four Tops co-founder, member, and co-producer of this musical, explained, "I said: 'Look, this is my city. Detroit is my New York. It's my Hollywood. And that's where it should be,'" he continued. "They deserve it and I want them to love it. I'm working hard and diligently to make an outstanding musical." "I would feel like a fool premiering it anywhere other than home, this is where it belongs."

I'll Be There will tell the story of how The Four Tops came to be, including their high school beginnings, meteoric rise to fame during their time at Motown, and their time as highly respected members of the music industry. "It's how and why the four young gentleman that came together out of the clear blue sky, who could harmonize from the very first moment, became magic," Fakir said to the DFP. "And why we stayed together for 44 years."

According to the Motown Museum, The Four Tops started their musical career as the Four Aims at a house party in Detroit in 1964. Members included Levi Stubbs, Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson and Lawrence Payton. They changed the group's name to The Four Tops to avoid confusion with a popular group of the day, the Ames Brothers. A smooth lounge act, the Tops stuck to standards and ballads and recorded for at least four other record companies before Berry Gordy signed them to Motown in 1963.

Their breakthrough hit, "Baby I Need Your Loving," was produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland in 1964, and was followed by greater success with "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" in 1965, the Tops' first #1 hit. Other hits were released during this period, including "It's the Same Old Song," "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)" and "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever." "Reach Out I'll Be There," released in 1966, was the group's biggest Motown hit. It could also be considered The Four Tops' theme song, as it musically expressed the feelings of solidarity and brotherly love group members felt for one another.

The Four Tops continued to churn out hits for Motown with releases that included "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and "Bernadette," both of which placed well on the R&B and pop charts. The quartet performed together for more than forty years, without a single personnel change, separated only by the death of group member Lawrence Payton in 1997.

You can read the full Detroit Free Press article here.

Photo Credit: Motown Museum website

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