There is not a better place for “Motown: The Musical” to be playing right now than St. Louis and the Fabulous Fox. This celebration of the enduring Motown legacy, and the struggles of the people and times in which it was born, has lots of script elements that are tangent to our community at this very moment, and the audience displays a real sense of community about it all in their response.
Featuring a brassy 15 piece orchestra (with 10 musicians who are based in St. Louis) and a song list that touts about 60 much-loved vintage numbers, “Motown: The Musical” is an account of the career and personal life between 1959 and the 1980s of legendary Detroit based music producer Berry Gordy, who also wrote the book of this show. Mr. Gordy is telling his own story, which may or may not be a good thing when appraising the objectivity of the production’s book.
What is undeniably authentic are the music and the recreations of the artists of that era to which Motown gave a voice. Diana Ross, played by Allison Semmes, Smokey Robinson played by Jesse Nager and Marvin Gaye played by Jarran Muse are the primary talents depicted, although if you’re also a fan of the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder, you won’t be disappointed.
“Motown: The Musical” moves at the speed of sound…..the Motown sound. It is almost non-stop performance of songs that are magic in their appeal and rhythms, all performed by a cast that very authentically recreates the artists and their music. The audience is frequently invited to join in vocally.
The end result is an evening that starts fast and never looks back. It’s a nostalgic treasure of some of the best-loved pop music ever written. You lived it, and you’ll love it!