Review: AIN'T TOO PROUD Delights Audiences at Edmonton's Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Now through October 1st.

By: Sep. 28, 2023
Review: AIN'T TOO PROUD Delights Audiences at Edmonton's Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium

Get ready for an electric musical performance! Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations tells the story of the world’s most famous R&B group. Boasting a whopping 30 songs, robust orchestra, and slick, Tony Award-winning choreography, the show is a spectacle in every sense of the word. 

The production hits the ground running with none other than Ain’t Too Proud to Beg. Soon after, the narrative leaps back in time, whisking the audience away to gritty, blue-collar Detroit. Fueled by his dream of stardom, Otis Williams (Marcus Paul James) stops at nothing until he assembles what he hopes is a dream team of other aspiring singers. As the years pass, The Temptations’ star rises despite its revolving door of outspoken band members. Beloved hits such as My Girl, Get Ready, and Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone come alive onstage, performed concert-style by the suit-clad, triple-threat Temptations. 

In addition to Otis Williams, the audience meets Melvin “Blue” Franklin (Harrell Holmes Jr.), Eddie Kendricks (Jalen Harris), and Paul Williams (E. Clayton Cornelious). They are later joined by David Ruffin (Elijah Ahmad Lewis), whose larger-than-life ego threatens to unravel the group. Together, the quintet showcases their superb vocal talents and impressive dance skills. When they are not dazzling the audience with their upbeat ensemble numbers, snippets of the members’ personal lives take centre stage in a series of vignettes ranging from humorous to heartbreaking.

Though the first act lacks character development, the show’s second half more than makes up for it. Moments of heart-wrenching vulnerability shine through as the band struggles to come to terms with America’s civil rights movement, their personal familial rifts, and addiction. The production is as unflinchingly vulnerable as it is magnetic.  

Fans of The Temptations will fall in love with the timeless music all over again and new listeners will be swept off their feet. Cameo appearances by Diana Ross (Amber Mariah Talley) and Smokey Robinson (played on opening night by AJ Lockhart) complement the leading men, as does the talented ensemble. 

Edmonton audiences have until October 1 to experience Ain’t Too Proud at The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. 

Photo: Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Jalen Harris, Michael Andreaus, Harrell Holmes Jr., E. Clayton Cornelious, from the National Touring Company of Ain’t Too Proud. Credit: ©2023 Emilio Madrid. 

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