MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Review

Links to all reviews can be found using the REVIEWS link at the top of the any page. Blog postings, links and  more are available on my Facebook fan page. You can also receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

Patrice Covington as Martha Reeves (center) & Cast. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

Patrice Covington as Martha Reeves (center) & Cast. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

MOTOWN THE MUSICAL presented by Broadway in Cincinnati through Sept. 20. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

The touring production of MOTOWN, currently at the Aronoff Center, doesn’t do anything small. It’s a large cast with big voices, performing more than 50 songs that defined the record label Berry Gordy built. Biggest of all? The incredible array of costumes capturing the looks of the Motown musical icons.

Reed L Shannon as Michael Jackson (center) with the Jackson 5. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

Reed L Shannon as Michael Jackson (center) with the Jackson 5. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

The ensemble is solid and polished. They make this physically demanding show look easy. I’m fairly certain that if an actor is not on stage they are changing costumes to come right back on. Audience favorites included Josh Tower as Berry Gordy, Ashley Tamar Davis as Diana Ross, Jesse Nager as Smokey Robinson, Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye, Elijah Ahmad Lewis as Stevie Wonder and Leon Outlaw Jr. as a young Michael Jackson.

Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye & Cast. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye & Cast. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

As with many jukebox musicals, the book for MOTOWN is not the show’s strongest element. It does have a have some great comic bits peppered throughout. For me, the second act seems to lose its momentum in several places. I also felt like the chemistry between Berry Gordy (Tower) and Diana Ross (Davis) was lacking, as I never bought them as a couple.

The Temptations. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

The Temptations. MoTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour 14. Joan Marcus, 2014.

Opening night, my major complaint with the show (echoed by other opening night attendees) was the sound. For the bulk of the performance, the vocals were overpowered by the orchestra. Hopefully this problem was addressed for the second performance.

Overall a fun, energetic and rockin’ trip through the songs of Motown, featuring a strong cast of vocally-powerful performers

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Reviews

3 responses to “MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Review

  1. The show makes the mistake of focusing too much on the business side of the label and not enough on the actual creative process. Gordy dealt with enough artists to pack the Arnoff and he clearly wanted them all in his show. And their songs. Blink in the middle of some, and you’ll miss ‘em. The songs are why most people are coming out. I didn’t like the way “Motown the Musical” keeps interrupting those great numbers for uninteresting backstory scenes. The artists barely got out any notes before the audience would interrupt with feedback….it’s a play not a concert. Stay seated, listen, and enjoy the PLAY.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Top Stories for September 2015 | Behind the Curtain Cincinnati

  3. Pingback: Legends – The Motown Invasion | mostly music

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.