Review: 'Motown the Musical' gets the crowd dancing in their seats
The words vibrant, boisterous and funky come to mind when describing "Motown The Musical," the show that had audience members dancing and clapping to the beat throughout the entire performance.
"Motown The Musical" premiered at UA's Centennial Hallon Feb. 21. The show attracted a crowd, with almost every seat filled. As the audience walked into the theater, a large black screen with a gold Motown symbol of the letter “M” greeted them onstage. The show started about five minutes late, probably due to the amount of late arrivals. The opening performance had the audience ready and eager to view more.
Set in the late 1950s, "Motown The Musical" takes place in a time of racial discrimination. A lot of prejudice against people of color occurred during this time period, which the play showcases. The play, based on real life events, highlights the successful career of Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, and the many people who joined the Motown family, like Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Chester Gregory, who played the role of Gordy. He gave a great performance and brought his character to life.
“I think the actor who played Gordy did an amazing job tonight," said audience member Kadin Bradley. "He really got into character and it was fun to watch him perform.”
The entire cast seemed fully energized and ready to wow the audience for their premiere night in Tucson. Throughout the show, cast members broke the fourth wall and engaged with the audience. Sometimes a character would have the audience clap with him or her to the rhythm of a song. Other times, a character would encourage the audience to sing and interact with the cast. Breaking the fourth wall gave the show a fun and welcoming vibe.
“I loved when the cast would interact with us because it felt like we were a part of the show,” said audience member Yannick Jones.
The audience exuded great energy as the cast engaged with them and this created a fun atmosphere.
The play gave audience members a chance to listen to old hits that they know and love like “My Girl,” “My Guy,” “ABC,” “Stop in the Name of Love” and “I Want You Back.” As these popular songs hit the stage, audience members sang along and some even grooved in their seats.
“When ‘ABC’ got performed, I was literally so into it," said audience member Jen Emerson. "I was definitely singing along.”
Another classic hit performed by the cast, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” had the entire audience jamming out in their seats and the song was performed beautifully. “Stop in the Name of Love,” featuring Allison Semmes as Diana Ross, showcased the talent of the female cast members and captured the audience.
This lively show runs at Centennial Hall from Feb. 21 to Feb. 26. If singing along to your favorite Motown hits and dancing in your seat intrigues you, then go see "Motown The Musical."
Follow Victoria Hudson on Twitter.