BWW Review: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Will Have You Dancing in Your Seat
Motown the Musical rocked into Overture Center in Madison on Tuesday night with an abundance of talent and energy delivering the memorable Hitsville, USA classics. This Berry Gordy biopic covers his life from a young boy, striving for more, to a man who borrows money from his family and builds a recording empire. The ambitious production culminates with the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of Motown.
The cast was chock full of gifted performers, but by far the highlight of the evening was Broadway performer and Chicago native Allison Semmes with her stellar voice and truthful impersonation of a feisty Diana Ross. Leon Outlaw, Jr's rendition of a young Michael Jackson brought raucous cheers from the audience when he performed the King of Pop's iconic dance moves and spot-on vocals. Nik Walker's silky performance of Marvin Gaye's "Heard it Through the Grapevine" turned into an impromptu audience singing along.
The national tour travels with an impressive 33 actors, 15 crew members, 10 musicians, and 3 stage mangers. The production travels from city to city on 8 semi-trailer trucks. With more than 450 period costumes, the audience is easily transported back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The stunning costumes for the Supremes include 14 Swarovski crystal encrusted dresses and more than 900,000 beads and sequins.
Motown The Musical opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on April 14, 2013, and the first national tour opened May 8, 2014, at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. The musical includes more than 60 beloved hits from the Motown catalogue. The music in the show was arranged and orchestrated to resemble the original Motown recordings.
Motown the Musical, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright with choreography by Patricia Wilcox (A Night with Janis Joplin) and Warren Adams (Toy Story) is the true American dream story. Motown gave birth to some of America's most iconic performers including Diana Ross & the Supremes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5, the Marvelettes, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Lionel Richie & the Commodores, Teena Marie, and many more.
Motown the Musical's arrangements and orchestrations are by Grammy and Tony Award nominee Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who also serves as music supervisor in reproducing the classic "Sound of Young America," with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Tony Award nominee Bryan Crook ("Smash") and dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).
Mowtown the musical is produced by Tony Award winning producer Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q), Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
Motown the Musical returns to Broadway July 12 at The Nederlander Theatre (208 West 41 Street) for a strictly limited 18-week-only engagement through Sunday, November 13, 2016. The London production of Motown the Musical debuted in the West End when performances began February 11 at The Shaftsbury Theatre.
Performances of Motown the Musical at the Overture Center for the Arts continue through Sunday, March 6, 2016. Tickets can be purchased online at www.OvertureCenter.org, by phone at (608) 258-4141 or in person at the Overture Center box office (open daily at 10 am). The Overture Center for the Arts is located at 201 State Street in Madison, Wisconsin.