Opens Oct 16 2h 45m
Ain't Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations (NYC)
Midtown W
86

Ain't Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations (NYC) NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(802 Reviews)
Positive
95%
Mixed
4%
Negative
1%
Members say
Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Great staging, Absorbing

The Temptations' extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

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Member Reviews (802)

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87
Delightful, Absorbing, Great singing, Great dancing, Entertaining

See it if You want a high energy, entertaining way to learn about The Temptations. If you liked Jersey Boys you’ll probably like this.

Don't see it if You hate jukebox musicals, this is about as typical as they come...”First we did this...sing a song...then we did that...sing another song”. Read more

64
Overrated, Fluffy, Disappointing, Banal, Ambitious

See it if Another ho hum jukebox musical . Great sets some great singing and dancing.

Don't see it if Story plot is weak and banal. Costant motion that stands still.

Critic Reviews (50)

March 21st, 2019

"Shrewd direction of Des McAnuff, with sensational choreography by Sergio Trujillo...While honoring all the expected biomusical clichés, which include rolling out its subjects’ greatest hits in brisk and sometimes too fragmented succession, this production refreshingly emphasizes the improbable triumph of rough, combustible parts assembled into glistening smoothness...As for the performance of those songs...they’re pretty close to perfection."
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March 21st, 2019

"No matter how much you may chafe at the clunky machinery of Broadway’s latest jukebox biomusical, 'Ain’t Too Proud,' the hits just keep coming, distracting your critical faculties with zaps of R&B greatness...The problem with telling the story of the Temptations is that there isn’t a clear central story to tell...As musical theater, 'Ain’t Too Proud' could generously be described as shameless. But as an evening of musical entertainment, it ain’t too shabby."
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March 21st, 2019

"While the tunes themselves are predictably wonderful and the cast’s voices ravishing, 'Ain’t Too Proud' itself has no real arc or engine...Dominique Morisseau’s book has moments of wit, but it’s also got plenty of corny clunkers and ultimately feels like a scroll through the band’s Wikipedia page...'Ain’t Too Proud' is certainly beautiful to look at...The show often sounds great too. But underneath its sparkle is a theatrical monotony that drags the whole thing down."
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March 21st, 2019

"Sure, there are craft issues with a show that's more narrated than dramatized...But as a fan experience, this high-energy tribute delivers big time...Propulsively directed by bio-musical specialist Des McAnuff...The briskly paced production frequently generates the excitement of a terrific concert...Even if Morisseau doesn't dodge showbiz clichés about fame and fulfillment not always going hand in hand, her book recounts the group's ups and downs with clarity and emotional involvement."
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March 21st, 2019

"What makes 'Beg' memorable is the sheer overwhelming talent of the cast. Even if no one character has enough time or space in the script to fill in the contours of a full personality beyond a few fast details they can still bring every sweet harmony and cross-step...It’s hard to feel the real impact of those losses in a show that has to cover so much ground...But it’s also hard to remember a closing as joyful as the one 'Beg' builds to."
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March 21st, 2019

"More 'Summer'-conventional than 'Jersey Boys'-fresh. But polished performances, slick choreography and a slate of 31 Motown tunes should satisfy audiences who might not be looking for probing storytelling, as long as the show delivers well-performed hits. That it does...The script delivers clichés and melodrama...At least things don’t drag, thanks to McAnuff’s fast-paced direction."
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March 21st, 2019

"The score is terrific, as are the singing and pit band, but Sergio Trujillo’s choreography is way too slick—the real-life Temptations moved like street-corner kids from Detroit, not glammed-up 42nd Street gypsies—and the projection-heavy set design is ploddingly dull...'Ain’t Too Proud' ends up feeling more like a concert with narration than a full-fledged musical, with results that are dramatically static and banal without limit."
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March 22nd, 2019

"'Ain’t Too Proud' mostly accomplishes what so many of the lesser examples of this genre haven’t – a fine cast performs beloved songs, performs them well enough to conjure and honor the people they’re playing and the songs they’re singing, and adds enough Broadway dazzle...That the deaths carry little dramatic punch is no fault of the primary cast, each of whom is given little more than a trait or two in place of a fully developed character."
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March 21st, 2019

"Buoyed by the suave choreography of Sergio Trujillo and thrill-a-minute performances by such stars-in-the-making as Jeremy Pope and Ephraim Sykes, 'Ain’t Too Proud' proves to be two or three cuts above the standard-issue anthology pop musical...The propulsive narrative of 'Ain’t Too Proud' not only reflects Morriseau’s understanding of how to invest an audience in the Temptations’ emotional spirals, but also McAnuff’s savvy at packing the music into every available nook and cranny."
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March 21st, 2019

"Anyone who’s seen the earlier jukebox shows 'Jersey Boys' or 'Motown: The Musical' is bound to feel a dull sense of déja vu...Morisseau’s script essentially gives each man one main trait...The thrill is watching the Temptations find their collective voice, tight harmonies and moves...The songs light up the stage. That’s a good thing, since much of the production is drenched in gray...A big plus is Sergio Trujillo’s choreography, with its dazzling spins and splits and piston-precise steps."
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March 21st, 2019

"The problem is the conflicts that he discusses are, alas, very much like the conflicts you can find in previous juked bios of male artists...You get certain flavors here of what Morisseau can do, politically and aesthetically, but not near enough...The show livens up in the musical numbers...You’re left wishing the show had chosen one part of this band’s life and stayed close therein...and, above all, been more willing to look at America through this astonishing catalog of musical greatness."
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March 21st, 2019

"While not exactly profound or original, it makes for slick, straightforward, tuneful and altogether pleasant entertainment...An effort was made to bring up unsavory details including drug and alcohol addiction, physical abuse and violence, juvenile delinquency, family abandonment and racial prejudice. But by and large, this remains a by-the-numbers, self-glorifying, sanitized account of the band’s life and times...The cast is uniformly strong."
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March 21st, 2019

"Carves out its own unique place in the genre, most especially when it’s up on its feet singing and dancing...Thankfully, Director Des McAnuff put the songs front and center, bringing out the best in his outrageously talented company...'Ain’t Too Proud' ranks pretty high as jukebox musicals go. Not only is it vastly entertaining, it reminds us how the best of Motown was able to prove that music could be colorblind even if the rest of the world wasn’t."
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March 21st, 2019

"While I found this new musical to be a surprisingly glum affair, I am also happy to give credit where it's due. No new show has a better grasp of what its target audience wants than this one does...'Ain't Too Proud' feels like a nearly three-hour PowerPoint presentation, only skimming the surface and rarely finding any depth...With more substance, 'Ain't Too Proud' would have been a better show, but it gives the audience what it wants — amazing songs, excellently performed."
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April 2nd, 2019

“’Ain't Too Proud’ yokes a hit parade of pop tunes to a thrice-told tale of show business disillusionment. Given the legendary status of The Temptations, this may be enough for audiences...But it's hard not to feel that an opportunity has been missed: Despite a few citings of the racial strife of the ‘60s, this is pretty thin stuff. There is a much richer story to be told about black performers achieving breakout success against a background of a nation in turmoil.”
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March 21st, 2019

"As jukebox musicals go this is one of the stronger ones...Act I follows the more typical jukebox musical pattern by throwing out a lot of exposition...But things balance out much better in Act II...Here is where 'Ain't Too Proud' stands out from other jukebox musicals, by bringing to life the individual members of a five-person group and by allowing us to follow their ups and downs, even if by necessity, their stories are condensed to fit the form."
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March 21st, 2019

"The musical numbers offer more exhilarating entertainment than any delivered in this format since 'Jersey Boys'...Morisseau’s libretto ends up resting heavily on platitudes...The songs are the draw, and on that count the musical delivers potently and consistently...If none of the virtuosic performances in 'Ain’t Too Proud' match the effortless sweetness and soulfulness of the original recordings, the abundance of talent and energy onstage is something to marvel at in its own right."
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March 21st, 2019

"Possesses all the drama of a datebook; it’s a seemingly endless chronicle of entrances and exits, successes and flameouts, hirings and firings, and illnesses and deaths...But everyone’s there for the music anyway...Like the Tempts themselves, the guys take a bit of time to find their groove; their vocals aren’t super-tight (at least not on the night I attended) until more than halfway through Act 1. At least 'Ain’t Too Proud' provides a sufficient dose of musical nostalgia."
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March 21st, 2019

"A slick but ultimately plodding trek through the complicated history of the popular Motown group...The performers, given the hard task of revivifying the parade of Temptations hits, as well as re-creating the group’s harmonies and its famously suave dance moves, are terrific...'Ain’t Too Proud,' respectable as a dramatic chronicle, and musically enjoyable as it is, could certainly do with a few injections of flair."
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March 30th, 2019

"Lackluster though sensationally performed...Morisseau’s book is a rudimentary compendium of trite show business lore...Yes, it’s a string of clichés but that’s the nature of the genre. Morisseau has done a professional job of providing a solidly dutiful framework in which to incorporate the songs...All of them are rousingly performed by the orchestra and the company...McAnuff’s vigorous staging has everything play out by polished rote."
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March 30th, 2019

"Written by the terrific Dominique Morisseau who knows how to blend a story and a song...But it’s Trujillo whose vision brings it alive as the Temps turn, slide, move, and groove and snap their fingers in rhythmic perfection in a way that still resounds and gives pause to why The Temptations remain part of our musical soundtrack. It’s a hi-powered, dynamic and energetic cast that will make you love them while you, the audience, can’t help but mouth or sing the familiar tunes."
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March 26th, 2019

“It is neither the best nor the worst in this genre...’Ain't Too Proud’ has that been-there-done-that veneer that diminishes the uniqueness that distinguished the group...No less than thirty-one Motown songs are performed with a slick and polished vigor but only rarely in their entirety, a decision that gives short shrift to some of the best of them...There is no lack of memorable performances...A show that otherwise leaves us invigorated if not quite breathless.”
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March 29th, 2019

“From the very first moment...it is impossible not to be completely engaged...’Ain’t Too Proud’ isn’t just another jukebox musical...It is the story of R&B music and its rise on the American music scene. As exemplified by The Temptations, there is absolutely nothing more compelling than that tale...Morisseau has woven the narrative with the music brilliantly. And McAnuff keeps the excitement going at a steady clip...The real star of the show is the music of The Temptations.”
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May 12th, 2019

"The music, the style, the moves, and rhythm are what remains in the center...It’s a Motown treat made in Broadway heaven, and for those fans, and even the ambivalent, the musical joy is real and the moves are impeccable...The full line up that appears on this Broadway stage is remarkable and epic, and one that will be remembered...It will reside alongside the equally as good 'Jersey Boys' as the Broadway framework to build a solid jukebox show."
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April 4th, 2019

"Long-winded narration takes away from a powerful story of true grit, sacrifice, and loss...Playwright Morisseau wrote the show’s book based on Williams’ memoir but somehow under the direction of McAnuff the show comes across as a live audiobook presentation featuring the magical music of The Temptations. However, it is the classic Temptations’ musical catalog and a stellar group of talent that keep this show grooving and the audience dancing in their seats."
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March 21st, 2019

"Sergio Trujillo’s choreography is a thrilling upgrade of the group’s trademark dips, snaps, splits, sways and twirls. The performers are talented enough as singers and dancers to be members of the actual Temptations...The general outline of rising to the top and falling from grace, feels overly familiar. And with so many songs and so many incidents to get through, there is little time to keep the story from coming off as generic...The show’s savviest move is in the casting."
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March 22nd, 2019

"Morisseau sticks close to the source, and as the action propels forward, one can understand Williams’ decades-long struggle to keep five big personalities in the spotlight...Deftly navigates between the personal and the public under McAnuff’s swift guidance...'Ain’t Too Proud' spoonfeeds its soul food, and audiences will eat it up...For those who can snag a ticket to 'Ain’t Too Proud' while its original Broadway company remains intact, you’re in for something wholly spectacular."
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C
March 21st, 2019

"Musically, however, the show is on much surer footing. One cannot underestimate the invaluable contributions of the other men playing the so-called 'classic five': the electrifying Sykes as the egotistical if supremely talented singer David Ruffin; the extremely charismatic and angelic-voiced Pope as the strong-willed Eddie Kendricks; the fleet-footed and intensely likeable Harkness as Paul Williams; and the endearing Jawan M. Jackson as the usually agreeable Melvin Fredericks."
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T
March 29th, 2019

"A sprawling, by-the-numbers musical journey…Its biographical and dramatic values are far less compelling-because they so closely fit a familiar pattern-than the rousingly entertaining ones of the music…There's nothing very new here in terms of celebrity fame, fortune, and fatality but the show packs its biographical ups and downs into a neatly packaged, exceptionally well-staged and performed sequence of scenes that incorporate both original Temptations songs and covers."
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April 1st, 2019

“This jukebox musical is a cut above the rest. What suffers here is the book by Morriseau that seems more like a memory play of Otis Williams, than engaging scenes that draw us into the action...If you love the music of The Temptations, amazing singing, smooth dancing, a show light on book, then you will adore the electrifying ‘Ain’t Too Proud’...There is never a dull moment in this show.”
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March 21st, 2019

"Thrillingly performed and dramatically static...The book is a cavalcade of banalities and bromides...So why see 'Ain’t Too Proud'? For the songs, of course, and the undiluted pleasure of watching five superb singers and dancers perform them...The choreography is a little more athletic than what the Temps actually performed and Sykes an Alvin Ailey-trained dancer is electric as is his every vigorous pas de deux with the microphone stand. No one should be too proud to applaud that."
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March 21st, 2019

"Derrick Baskin’s impersonation of Otis Williams defines the word 'innocuous,' even though late in the musical he is accused of being a control freak...If only Ruffin/Sykes were narrating 'Ain’t Too Proud.' For one thing, we’d be spared the cliched build-up to the group’s success and the endless parade of funerals at the end...McAnuff’s direction of 'Ain’t Too Proud' gives us both the alluring razzle-dazzle and the underlying nightly grind of touring."
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April 23rd, 2019

"Seamless, slick, and exuberantly entertaining, 'Ain’t Too Proud' is easily one of the best catalogue musicals ever to grace The Great White Way...The beat never stops, and the songs are thankfully plotted diegetically, rather than being awkwardly interpolated into serving a literal purpose beyond the reality of their performance...At its most fundamental level, this show looks good, sounds good, and feels good. It’s one of the greats."
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March 21st, 2019

"This jukebox musical not only has life, it also has wit, intelligence, while also looking stunning and full of energy...It’s as funny, revealing and moving as it is hummable and toe-tapping...Music is the route to personal salvation as well as fame and success, with Morisseau excellent at elevating detail amid the grand sweep...Instead of telling these storylines in an overwrought style, or even telling them at length, Morisseau and McAnuff figure out a lean, clever middle way."
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March 22nd, 2019

"In Otis’ narration, the lives of the men behind the voices are generally reduced to one or two digestible traits...Inner lives are given only cursory glimpses, as much of the book by Dominique Morisseau gets caught up documenting the group’s shuffling roster of members...But then, the Temptations are beloved for their soaring vocals, smooth moves and slick suits. Director Des McAnuff sets the production whizzing and spinning with ease like a classic record on a turntable."
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March 21st, 2019

"As impressive as their believable characterizations and extraordinary vocal talents is the cast’s dazzling execution of Trujillo’s killer choreography...Enhanced by an artistic design that is at once dazzling and refined...A stellar production that elevates the quality of jukebox musicals with its engaging story and direction, top-notch performances, sophisticated design, and a selection of high-voltage choreographed hits that keeps the legacy of Motown alive."
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C
March 29th, 2019

“The magic, history, poignance and joy displayed by the production company creatives of ‘Ain’t Too Proud’, are bar none. The show is one of the best on Broadway...Special accolades go to McAnuff for his seminal direction and staging...But the rising glory must land on the actors and ensemble responsible for the breathtaking portrayals of the ‘Classic 5 Temptations’...By the conclusion of ‘Ain’t Too Proud’, I felt like I had spent time with loving family who passed...Must-see.”
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April 10th, 2019

"Morrisseau ‘s timeline is fuzzy, and while there is the feeling of a sketchy paint-by-numbers, 'and then we did,' in the narration, the music lifts and soars over the enormous theater...All the dancers in 'Ain’t Too Proud' are outstanding, but it is undeniably the lead, Ephraim Sykes, trained by Alvin Ailey, who delivers the money moves, laser-sharp steps, and breathtaking leaps."
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M
April 1st, 2019

“A brilliantly-tooled entertainment, bursting with explosive onstage talent, fortified with Olympian stamina...You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool Temptations fan to want to start gyrating in your seat...While it never quite escapes the feeling that we’re being...fed a checklist of narrative points, it’s a fairly compelling story...McAnuff’s staging is masterful...The numbers exponentially heighten the excitement with great singing and Trujillo’s choreography.”
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March 31st, 2019

"[T]here's something about 'Ain't Too Proud' that distinguishes it from most jukebox musicals. All of the leads have been with the show since June, and there is a real sense of familiarity among the actors, of hard-won love, of having lived, fought, and performed with one another."
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March 25th, 2019

"Initially, I recoiled from the preponderance of narration and I have to admit that throughout the show, there’s too much of it...But director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo keep things spiffily moving, and the five guys—and others along the way—radiate sheer talent that makes this more than a Vegas revue...What could have been just a TV movie-ish indulgence becomes an uneven but swirling pastiche, with smooth moves and singing."
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March 21st, 2019

"Moving quickly past the early successes, it covers familiar territory — the clashing egos, the failed relationships, the debilitating excesses as the stress of life on the road leads to drink and drugs...Told through the deep, memorable Motown catalog, the show, directed by Des McAnuff, works best when it relies on great songs. Choreographer Sergio Trujillo gives the singers slick moves considerably more polished than the originals ever managed."
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T
May 13th, 2019

“Surprisingly excellent...What makes ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ stand out is the inventive and incredibly interesting staging by director Des McAnuff. While the story might feel familiar and the presentation of hit after hit might become wearying, the unique way everything evolves is fantastically fluid and, in its own way, artistic. I marveled at the creativity which never ceased throughout the production. Performances are terrific across the board.”
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March 29th, 2019

"The leads, voices, acting, choreography by Sergio Trujillo, direction by Des McAnuff, songs and book are all here. This doesn’t mean that the show is flawless. This could have been one of the greatest jukebox musicals, if it wasn’t for the artistic design team: sets, costumes and lighting making the evening duller and less exciting that it actually is...Besides the song catalog you are left with six excellent performances and voices that give the show its gravitas and knocks you out."
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April 15th, 2019

"Two and half hour of pure pleasure, a thrilling non-stop ride through R&B pop music and an exuberant celebration of the American jukebox musical in its matured form. It’s the best since 'Jersey Boys'...Morisseau doesn’t try to make The Temptations’ story any more than it is, because 'Ain't Too Proud' is all about song and dance...Most remarkable is that not only do the actors as a group soar but also each actor imbues his character with his own set of moves and vocal style."
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March 29th, 2019

“The group’s connection with the civil rights movement is poignantly explored, which does great justice to the importance and significance of the Temptations...As a musical, ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ isn’t anything special per se, but as a jukebox it is rather good, certainly better than most...It’s hard to resist some of their classic hits...and when they are expertly sung...’Ain’t Too Proud’ is perfect for a fun night of well-performed nostalgia, with some history on the side.”
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March 22nd, 2019

“Based on Otis Williams’ autobiography...Morisseau has fashioned a book that doesn’t always stick to the facts...The Motown music– mostly from Smokey Robinson and Norman Whitfield– is what propels the show. The orchestra, which is on stage behind the action, is sensational. And the actors are just knockouts...’Ain’t Too Proud’ shows off a phenomenon.”
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W
March 26th, 2019

“The story is told in a disjointed manner with a very vague timeline. It’s overly-ambitious and tends to take itself much too seriously...It’s difficult to overpraise the performances. The actors capture the magical harmonies of The Temptations. They dance with synchronized energy that is as smooth as is their sounds. As actors they make you care about their frailties without ever playing the victim. Indeed, the performances should make each lead a Tony Award candidate."
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B
March 21st, 2019

"'Ain’t Too Proud' isn’t too original, but it should appeal to fans of the Temptations...The 'Ain’t Too Proud' book is a mile wide and an inch deep. In adapting the memoir of Otis Williams, the lone survivor of the original Temptations, there’s lots to cover and less leeway for shifting perspectives...My vote for most exciting Broadway Temptation is newcomer Jeremy Pope. With his sinewy dancing and falsetto...'Ain’t Too Proud' may be an imperfect vehicle, but Pope is going places."
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T
March 25th, 2019

"The most electrifying show on Broadway...The general pacing of the show is quick and seamless...Each actor completes the enactment of the classic Temptations, but the female voices command the stage, even if for a short moment...Their exits, symbolizing each respective death, leaves the greatest imprint on the heart, showing how meaningful the lives and artistry of The Temptations was to humanity."
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