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.
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.
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.
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.
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.