When asked what story he wanted to tell, Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, simply replied "I want to tell the truth about how a few kids started with a dream." This dream grew into a family of super stars who produced hits that "changed the sound of America," according to Motown the Musical producer, Kevin Collum. Motown the Musical is the story of Mr. Gordy's life and the rise of the recording dynasty that includes the king of pop, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.
The musical will launch its first national tour in Chicago on April 22, at the Oriental Theatre. Mr. Gordy shared fond memories of Chicago, stating that "I produced my first records here, before there was a Motown, at Chess Records." Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Movie is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy's journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul, who launched some of the most successful careers in music history.
Motown the Musical features more than 50 classic hits, such as My Girl and Ain't No Mountain High Enough. The cast was carefully selected; with Clifton Oliver as Berry Gordy, Chicago native Allison Semmes as Diana Ross, Nicholas Christopher as Smokey Robinson and Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye. Leon Outlaw, Jr. and Reed L. Shannon will portray Berry Gordy's boyhood counterpart and the roles of young stars Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
Today, Mr. Gordy, the producer and director officially announced the cast for the production at a press conference at the Oriental Theatre. They made a grand entrance with of snippet of Martha and the Vandella's Dancing in the Streets. The cast and crew are an accomplished group of professionals, that includes Grammy and Tony Award winners and nominees.
For tour cities, dates and more information, visit the Motown the Musical website.