Review: MARVIN GAYE: PRINCE OF SOUL at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

What did our critic think of MARVIN GAYE: PRINCE OF SOUL at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe?

By: May. 06, 2024
Review: MARVIN GAYE: PRINCE OF SOUL at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
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WestCoast Black Theatre Troupe revives one of their most popular original shows, Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul. Created, adapted, and directed by WBTT’s founder, Nate Jacobs, Gaye’s story is told through the narration of his family and friends. Of course, peppered throughout is the enchanted music that made Marvin Gaye an icon and what continues to make him a legend. Originally written in 2011, this time around WBTT is more refined and developed.

Recognized as a genius in his time, Gaye excavated his personal life for inspiration. The story moves along very quickly, with his songs peppered in and driving the performance forward. In the fashion the we the audience greatly appreciate, WBTT seamlessly produces a story that uses the music as a vital part of this story. Between the Motown scenes (which this troupe is a MASTER of), to the harmonies of the ensemble, Prince of Soul, is a perfect catalyst to highlight exactly what WBTT does best!

Marvin Gaye’s story comes to light and his personality is portrayed and understood through the lens of this rendering of his life. Gaye’s personality as a shy introverted girl-crazy teen leaps over to becoming an incredible sex symbol, and it seems he did not know how to manage this.  Sheldon Rhodan, plays the title role once again, as he did when the work originally premiered and his accurate intonation and singing are the exact reason why he is doing this again. Sheldon sounds as close to Marvin Gaye’s voice as Marvin Gaye does—it is uncanny.

As you may know from reading my other reviews, I enjoy doing research about these performances, comparing them over time, etc. In my findings and comparing the moments that are represented in Prince of Soul, I have watched quite a few Marvin Gaye performances, and it is staggering to see that not only is Sheldon putting forward a rendering, but the costuming by Darci Collins is exactly that of what was worn by Gaye in his concerts, from the sequences denim ensemble to the red- embroidered jacket he wore for his Montreux 1980 concert.

This show is recommended to anyone and everyone and if you want to know if something “Is Going On”, then you are looking in the right place—and luckily it is playing through May 26th. Matinee and Evening Shows are still available. Buy: Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul (salesforce-sites.com)




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