Sarah and Dave gave us tickets for our anniversary to see “Motown- the Musical” and I am glad they did.

We went to the show yesterday at the National Arts Centre. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

I was wondering how Barry Gordy – who wrote the musical book – could fit a storyline around 60+ Motown classics but it didn’t take long to find out. There were actually three storylines:

  1. How Barry Gordy founded Motown Records, how he developed it from a “black artist” label to a worldwide success, how he moved to LA, how the major record companies stole his performers away and left him bitter and disillusioned.
  2. How Motown and specifically Marvin Gaye reacted to, and interacted with the turbulence in American society in the ’60s and early ’70s.
  3. ¬†Gordy’s long term romance with Diana Ross.

All the hits were there. All the major players were portrayed – Marvin, Smokey, the Funk Brothers, Mary Wells, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Contours, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Holland Dozier and Holland etc. etc.

Chester Gregory (Barry) and Allison Semmes (Diana) were standouts. Both had show stopper numbers, as did the precocious 12 year old who played Michael Jackson (right down to the Moonwalk moves and uptempo vocals.)

The story begins with young Barry in 1938 and ends with the Motown 25th anniversary celebration in 1983. They used lots of actual film footage of the historical events as a backdrop to the music.

Barry Gordy is now 87. All his fans are getting old too. But we had a good time yesterday.


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