Review: AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at San Diego Civic Theatre

Playing through Jan 8th through Broadway San Diego

By: Jan. 05, 2023
Review: AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at San Diego Civic Theatre
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It seems appropriate that the musical AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS, like the band its story tells, is consistently entertaining, and full of impressive musical performances. Playing through January 8th at the San Diego Civic Theatre by Broadway San Diego.

AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS is a hit musical that follows the extraordinary journey of The Temptations, as they forge their way into music history with their smooth vocals and even smoother choreography. From the 1950 streets of Detroit to the present day, the show tells the story of their rise to fame and their challenges as a group through 31 of their songs.

The music and the group are iconic, and the performances are strong and very entertaining. Featuring songs from the legendary Motown catalog, the performance includes hits that had the audience singing along like "My Girl", "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)", "Shout", and more.

Review: AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at San Diego Civic Theatre

Narrated by Otis Williams (Michael Andreaus) who after a brief brush with the law, decides to turn his life around and start a group that will work together to leave an indelible impact on music. Soon he is joined by Melvin Franklin ( Jamari Johnson Williams) who has an impressively deep bass, Eddie Kendricks (Jalen Harris) who has a sweet tenor, Paul Williams (E. Clayton Cornelious) as the smooth baritone, and David Ruffin (Dwayne P. Mitchell) a charismatic and energetic tenor. Working with Barry Gordy (Jeremy Kelsey) at Mowtown records and with songs written by Smokey Robinson (Omar Madden) they find their signature sound and start to top the charts.

While this show concentrates on the (many) men who have performed in the group, the show also features strong performances and vocals in a variety of roles by Shayla Brielle G., Quiana Onrae'l Holmes, Traci Elaine Lee, Amber Mariah Talley, and Nazarria Workman.

Review: AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS at San Diego Civic Theatre

The temptations that fame brings are hard to ignore and soon egos and tempers clash, drinking and drugs increase, and the group is left with hard choices. It is a lot of ground and characters to cover as it spans decades, and the show never drags or stays for long in one place thanks to the quick pace set by director Des McAnuff (who is the Director Emeritus of the La Jolla Playhouse). McAnuff has a real knack for this type of biography jukebox musical (he also directed JERSEY BOYS) and combined with the sharp choreography by Sergio Trujillo, the lighting ensign by Howell Binkley, Scenic Design by Robert Brill, and the Projection Design by Peter Nigrini the show keeps the audience engaged and singing along.

Because of the length of time to cover, the book by Dominique Morisseau (who wrote the fantastic play SKELETON CREW) doesn't have a chance to go very deep on any specific topics. The show touches upon social and interpersonal upheavals, but only glancingly, while major plot moments are foreshadowed through more generic dialogue like "Sometimes you let go of one dream to get to something bigger." Additionally, since it is based on Otis' biography he's the only character that truly gets to build a direct connection with the audience.

As Otis notes "I guess the only thing that really lives forever is the music," and that holds true in this show where the music and harmonies from all of the performers are a joy to hear and watch.

Give in to temptation and enjoy an entertaining night at the theatre filled with strong performances of some favorite hit songs in AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS.

How To Get Tickets

AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS is playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre through January 8th through Broadway San Diego. For ticket and showtime information go to www.broadwaysd.com



Photo Credit: AIN'T TOO PROUD - THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS Credit © 2021 Emilio Madrid




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