Sunday, April 14, 2013

Motown The Musical @ The Lunt-Fontanne Theater

If you are going to do the classics, you had better do them right. So when portraying the golden age of Motown, who better to bring the songs that shaped a generation to Broadway then Berry Gordy himself? For decades Gordy brought music into the world that gave its fans hope in a time when it seemed as though nothing would ever be the same. Through the blessings of a talented cast, crew, and some of the greatest inspiration in music, Gordy with the help of director Charles Randolph-Wright (Love/Life) bring the spirit of Motown back to a world that is desperate for true music. 

 As the greats come back for Motown’s 25th year anniversary the character of Berry Gordy, played by Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) takes the audience all the way back to Hitsville, U.S.A. Back when Smokey Robinson wasn’t a household name, the Temptations hadn’t recorded “My Girl” and the “No-hit” Supremes were fresh out of high school. In a truly inspirational and jaw dropping production all the classics come out to play; Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Marvelettes, The Jackson 5 – you name them, they were there. The audience sang along to every song, clapped every time a new character was introduced, the energy was charged, and one couldn’t help being transported back in time.   

Brandon Victor Dixon is not only a wonder to watch, but a wonder to listen to. He is the soul of the show, the peak of a talented cast and the perfect partner for Valisia LeKae (The Book of Mormon), who played Diana Ross. LeKae was charming, enticing, and embraced the soul of the great Diana quite beautifully. Charl Brown (Jersey Boys), who played a heart-warming Smokey Robinson, was incredibly funny and a true joy to watch.  Then of course the spirited Bryan Terrell Clark, who is making his Broadway debut in Motown the Musical, lent the ever radical and always changing view of the infamous Marvin Gaye. And naturally what would Motown be without the Jackson 5? Led by Raymond Luke, Jr., the group left the audience in awe with every song performed exactly as the original group had done. Luke brought the magic of the late, great King of Pop to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and that ladies and gentleman was an amazing sight.

           Go see it, and take it all in; the lights, the costumes, the set, the music. Go see how a generation was formed, and how Berry Gordy’s music changed the world. Notice how there is not one actor who does not embody their character; there is not one dull moment, not one dance step out of time, not one wrong note.
This is Motown; you are part of the family, part of the history, and part of the love.

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