“Motown, the Musical” is a huge blast from the past that’s musically about as entertaining as anything to hit the Buell Theatre in a long time. It’s got tremendous vocalists, awesome dancers and an explosion of colorful costumes by Esosa. The book, however, suffers.
Supposedly it’s the 25th anniversary of the beginning of Motown and Berry Gordy, Motown’s legendary creator, is trying to decide if he wants to go to the party or not. By the time things ended there was a lot of bad blood and some pending lawsuits as well. Gordy was feeling betrayed and let down. This is the fragile armature on which the book for one of the longest and most exhilarating jukebox musicals hangs its hat.
If you can get past the fact that story-wise there ain’t much there, and just enjoy the flash and flair of fantastic choreography, singing, costumes and that glorious Motown beat, you’re gonna have an evening to remember for a long time.
Now there are are a lot of tunes in this jukebox! The down side is we want to hear them all the way through. Unfortunately the show is a little over three hours with intermission and it’s just not possible to do anything but a non-stop auditory taster.
Clifton Oliver is a great Berry Gordy. Too bad they didn’t shore up his dialogue with more creative bits. Jesse Nager is a tremendous presence as Smokey Robinson. Allison Semmes is a fetching Diana Ross. Leon Outlaw, Jr. nearly stops the show as the young Michael Jackson.
The Supremes, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips! These are just a few of the artists featured in over 60 songs which take us all on a great journey down memory lane. The historical framework of the show is told visually in projections of vintage video.
Motown the Musical is filled with the music that has made our lives sing! These artists leapt over racial boundaries uniting us all with the universal language of music. Both the history and the artists are resurrected for this production…but most especially their songs.
For tickets call the box office at 303-893-4100 or go online at Denvercenter.orgMarlowe's Musings