As a quick recap… Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. is developing a Broadway musical based on his life “to set the record straight on the inception of the iconic label.“
The musical will feature music hits by the likes of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, among others, and will open on Broadway in 2013, produced by Kevin McCollum (producer of such shows as Rent, Avenue Q and In the Heights – all 3 Tony Award-winning musicals by the way, so we could say that Gordy’s work is in good hands here), Sony Music Entertainment chairman and CEO Doug Morris, and of course Gordy himself, with Charles Randolph-Wright (an African American by the way, who has his own extensive background as a writer, director, producer for film, TV and theater) directing.
Its official synopsis reads:
Welcome to Hitsville, USA! MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed America forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy’s incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more. Featuring all the classics you love, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Smokey finds his unique voice, Diana skyrockets to stardom and Berry fights against the odds to turn his improbable dream into a triumphant reality. The music that shattered barriers and shaped our lives finally comes to the Broadway stage in the season’s most highly anticipated world-premiere event, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL… Get ready, ’cause here we come!
The new musical will begin Broadway previews on March 11, 2013, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. It’ll officially open on April 14, 2013, and will star Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple, The Scottsboro Boys) as Berry Gordy, and Valisia LeKae (Ragtime, The Book of Mormon) as Diana Ross.
And now, Charl Brown has joined the cast to play Smokey Robinson, rounding out a show with some 40+ actors playing a variety of roles, including familiar names like Saycon Sengbloh (Fela!).
Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams are co-choreographing the show.
An 18-piece orchestra will “reproduce the classic ‘Sound of Young America’ for the Broadway stage,” according to producers.
Tickets are now officially on sale, even though we’re still 5 months away from the start of previews. But something tells me this will be a hot-seller, so it may not be such a bad idea to start thinking about tickets, if you plan on seeing it.
In the meantimes, to ramp up excitement the world premiere next spring, a star-studded launch event was held here in NYC about a week ago, which was all caught on tape, and eventually edited down to the 3-minute clip embedded in the player below. And within that clip you’ll find an “exclusive sneak peek” at the performance, with recorded scenes scattered throughout the video!
For tickets and more information, visit: motownthemusical.com