Motown the Musical provides insight into how Berry Gordy, who started with just $800 in the bank, went from being a featherweight boxer to a heavyweight music mogul. The musical begins in 1983 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium where some of the world's biggest recording stars are gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Motown Records. Gordy refuses to join the reunion, still hurt that his protégés eventually abandoned him for greener pastures – in Diana Ross’s case, a $20 million offer from RCA records.
Told through flashbacks, Gordy's fame grows swiftly during the 1960s and his record label draws in names like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Soon, with America socially charged and racially divided, Gordy realises Motown’s true calling: to unite the country through music. Gordy went on to produce 110 top 10 hits from 1961 to 1971 as well as releasing three of Martin Luther King’s speeches.
This is Broadway actor Cedric Neal’s West End debut as Berry Gordy. Joining him are Lucy St Louis as Diana Ross, Obioma Ugoala as Smokey Robinson and Sifiso Mazibuko as Marvin Gaye. They are supported by a cast of 30 who bring Gordy’s story to life with sass, style and soul. The production is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright with choreography by Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams.
Motown The Musical is taking bookings until 5 January 2019, when the show will celebrate its third year in London and Motown will celebrate sixty years since the record company was founded.
Motown the Musical is, playing at The Shaftesbury Theatre today.