Stop! In the name of…Motown the musical!
On Thursday 26th September, I went to watch the incredible Motown the Musical at the Liverpool Empire Theatre with Oxford New Theatre, and despite the fact that I wasn’t around during the era of Motown, it was by far one of the most enjoyable musicals that I had been too!
The evening started off with interviews with the lead cast members who are Edward Baruwa (playing Berry Gordy), Karis Anderson (playing Diana Ross), Nathan Lewis (playing Smokey Robinson) and Shak Gabbidon-Williams (playing Marvin Gaye). In the interview, a prominent discussion point was the commitment that each of the cast members had to their roles on the musical, such as watching videos of their characters to immerse themselves in the life and work of their character. Karis Anderson (playing Diana Ross) even said that the inspiration behind the girl band she was previously in (Stooshe) were inspired by the work of Diana Ross and the Supremes. It just shows how committed the cast of Motown the Musical are to the show, and to the people they are portraying which is emanated throughout the show.
In addition, another point echoed by the whole cast during the interviews was their love for
theatre. This was due to the fact that there aren’t any phones or recordings, therefore audiences are immersed in the beauty of live theatre. It is this beauty of live theatre that Motown the Musical truly embodies. From the phenomenal voices of the cast who sound just like the characters they are playing … to audience participation (yes, I am just warning you that you may get to sing on stage with Diana Ross-though I didn’t nominate myself as trust me, no one would want to hear my singing!). You are fully immersed in the story of Berry Gordy and it tells a truly compelling and uplifting story of the origins of Motown!
The defining feature of Motown the Musical that makes it different from your typical musical, is that it is performed in such a way that it is certain to get you up on your feet dancing and singing along. It is the only musical I have been to so far that seems to encourage the audience to join in. The aim seems to be to allow the audience to connect with the story as much as possible and this is something that is certainly achieved, and reciprocated by the audience who don’t hesitate in dancing along! Though please be warned, you will have the songs stuck in your head for at least a week…though this isn’t a bad thing!
I would definitely recommend giving Motown the Musical a visit! Even if it is not your typical style of music, it is certain to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step!
Coming to Oxford New Theatre 17th December 2019- 4th January 2020: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/motown-the-musical/new-theatre-oxford/