The RiverCenter for the Performing Arts is hosting a national tour of “Motown the Musical” this week. The musical will run for two days at the RiverCenter, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.
“Motown the Musical” tells the true American dream story of Motown’s founder Berry Gordy. Gordy began as a featherweight boxer and had several careers, including serving in the army during the Korean War, before he landed in entertainment.
Gordy began his music career by writing songs for famous singer Jackie Wilson before deciding to establish himself as a prominent record producer. In 1960, Gordy opened Motown Records and began his journey to becoming the Father of Motown. Gordy worked with all of the top Motown stars and launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many others. Gordy was inducted into the Motown Hall of Fame in 1988.
“Motown the Musical” tracks Gordy’s career spent building his empire and showcases the greatest hits from his beloved genre. Audience members can expect to hear Motown favorites like “ABC,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Aint Too Proud to Beg,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and “Stop in the Name of Love.”
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“Motown the Musical” first opened on Broadway in 2013 and rose to critical acclaim, earning four Tony Award nominations in its first season. “Motown” is a jukebox musical, meaning the music is based on previously released songs. The musical has a total of 66 songs from start to finish.
Audience members should know this tour of “Motown” features some famous singers. Gordy is played by Kenneth Mosely, who has appeared in several national tours including “The Little Mermaid” and “Sister Act.” Mosely also has been featured on television in popular shows like “Grace & Frankie” and “Crazy Love.” Diana Ross is played by Trenyce, who was featured on American Idol and for which she earned a Grammy nomination.
In addition to providing two performances, the RiverCenter will present a pre-show talk by Al Haynes titled “What Makes the Motown Sound?” The pre-show talk will be given on Monday and Tuesday evenings beginning at 6:40 in the RiverCenter’s Studio Theatre.
Haynes began his career in radio in Washington, D.C. more than 30 years ago. He then moved back to Columbus to be near family. With decades of experience in the music industry, Al Haynes is the local authority on Motown. He currently works as the DJ for Boomer 102.5 and serves in the community on several volunteer boards across Columbus.
RiverCenter presents its pre-show talks as part of a new series developed to encourage lifelong learning for its audience. Previous talks have included expert-led discussions on ballet and jazz, and more talks are in development. Pre-show talks are free with ticket purchase.
If You Go:
What: ‘Motown the Musical’
When: 7:30 p.m. March 20 and 21
Where: Heard Theatre, RiverCenter