BWW Review: MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL Is An Uplifting Blast From The Past!

BWW Review: MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL Is An Uplifting Blast From The Past!

The minute the curtain was raised and a familiar tune of The Four Tops reached my ears, I knew that both the audience and I were going to be dancing in our seats all night. Throughout the evening, the audience was serenaded with many hits such as the sweet sound of The Temptations singing "My Girl" and the classic song "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by the incredible Stevie Wonder. There was not one moment in the show that I did not absolutely adore.

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL, the catchy Broadway show based on the hits of many Motown superstars opened at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on February 6th and will continue it's run there until February 11th. It focuses on the story of Berry Gordy and his rise in the music industry through his creation of Motown highlighting the careers of legendary stars: Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, and many more.

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, this marvelous production was truly a work of art. With the amazing scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Hamilton) paired with the projection design by Daniel Brodie (Aladdin), you would often forget that you were watching a show in a theatre rather than living the life of someone living in the 1950s/60s when Motown was emerging in the music industry. One of the highlights of the show was the interplay between the projections of original Motown clips/ historical events and the music. This powerful element brought dynamic emotion to the show that really tied the entire production together nicely.

While most of the 40+ songs featured in the show were familiar and nostalgic for a majority of the older audience members, the younger generation had the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the iconic music of the past. The re-created choreography by Brian Harlan Brooks and original choreography by Patricia Wilcox (A Night with Janis Joplin) brought life to the music that was definitely a crowd highlight. The sharp, crisp moves from The Contours during "Do You Love Me" drove the audience wild with excitement as you could see many people in the crowd bobbing their heads and swaying back and forth to the beat.

Outstanding performances were made by many of the cast members including Trenyce as Diana Ross. Her impressive powerhouse vocals and overall stage presence as Diana was phenomenal. At one point in the show, she makes her way into the crowd to sing, "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" with some lucky members of the audience. This component of the show really connected the audience to Diana and displayed Trenyce's dedication to the fine details of her character.

Kenneth Mosley as Berry Gordy was the heart and soul of the entire show. His smooth vocal runs and the passion he emits during the raw, emotional points of the musical gives Motown the stunning recognition it deserves. Other special mentions include Chase Phillips as Young Berry Gordy/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson for his impressive vocals and enthusiasm during songs such as "I Want You Back" and Brett Michael Lockley who left people extremely impressed over the amazing quality and precision of his dance moves.

Overall, the production of MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL was an entertaining, exhilarating, and engaging show that I would recommend to people of all ages who are both familiar and not familiar with the music of Motown as it's catchiness will appeal to any audience.

Motown: The Musical is currently playing at Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre from February 6th-11th. Ticket prices begin at $30.50 and are available at or by calling 1-855-985-5000.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus, 2017

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