New York | 2h 45m | Open run

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

From 29 critic and 95 member reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Great staging, Delightful, Must see

About the show

This new musical follows The Temptations' extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff ("Jersey Boys").

With their signature dance moves and unmistakable harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts, creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one. The rest is history — how they met, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest. This story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal is set to the beat of the group's treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and so many more.

2h 45m | Open run | Imperial Theatre (Midtown W)


95
DC Metro Theater Arts

"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." Full Review

90
Daily Beast

"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." Full Review

90
The Washington Post

"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." Full Review

85
The New York Times

"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." Full Review

85
NY1

"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." Full Review

85
Broadway Blog

"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." Full Review

85
Entertainment Weekly

"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." Full Review

80
Talkin' Broadway

"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." Full Review

80
CitiTour

"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." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review

80
Showbiz 411

“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.” Full Review

75
AM New York

"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." Full Review

75
Towleroad

"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." Full Review

70
New York Theater

"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." Full Review

70
The Guardian (UK)

"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." Full Review

70
New York Stage Review

"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." Full Review

70
Newsday

"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." Full Review

70
Deadline

"'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." Full Review

70
Broadway Journal

"'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." Full Review

65
Broadway News

"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." Full Review

65
Time Out New York

"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." Full Review

65
New York Post

"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." Full Review

65
The Wrap

"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." Full Review

65
Variety

"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." Full Review

55
Theatermania

"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." Full Review


100
Great writing, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you love great music & dancing. Best Bio-Musical I've seen. Even better than Jersey Boys, Cher, Donna Summer, Beautiful, Gloria Estefan

Don't see it if you're blind and deaf. Avoid it if don't like Motown Music or a good time. Avoid it if you don't like R&B music.

95
Great acting, Entertaining

See it if Wonderful Motown music and dancing.It is amazing that they have been around since 1960. Great cast.Interesting story.

Don't see it if You do not like Motown. Sit upstairs to see the choreography

86
Refreshing, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if Doo- wop memories were wonderful. The cast is terrific, they certainly work hard and it shows. Had the audience rocking!

Don't see it if If doo-wop nostalgia is not for you...do not see this. More music than underlying story.

80
Great orchestra, Enthusiastic, Interesting story, Very good singing, Entertaining

See it if You love Motown music and the Temptations. This songs are nostalgic & the choreography is wonderful. Pace could be faster.

Don't see it if You expect an elaborate musical and set. Or a great storyline acted out by the singers. One Temptation is the main narrator.

Also If you were alive in the Motown era, this is a must see. The audience ... Read more Read less

70
Slow, Disappointing

See it if You love the Temptations songbook Like to sing along to a show

Don't see it if You don’t like song filled musical with a run time of 2.5 hours with an intermission

67
Great singing & dancing, Disappointing, Indulgent, Entertaining, Formulaic

See it if you like the Motown sound & want to see spectacular performers recreate the sounds & moves of The Temps (& to a lesser degree The Supremes).

Don't see it if u hope for a musical w/heart, depth or an unbiased POV; u might get motion sickness from the set pieces & projections that NEVER STOP MOVING

Also This is a true "jukebox musical" in the sense that you might as well h... Read more Read less

51
Great singing, Banal, Great dancing, Confusing, Cliched

See it if Yet another ho-hum jukebox musical. It’s not terrible. It’s not great. It’s predictable and unremarkable.

Don't see it if You want an original story, want to hear original music, want to see a plot that isn’t similar to a dozen other shows.

91
Refreshing, Must see, Masterful, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You are a fan of the Temptations, or any of the Motown era music. Also, if you're just looking for amazing singing and choreo!

Don't see it if You don't like the Temptations!

85
Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging

See it if See if you enjoy the unique Temptations choreography, the familiar songs and the fast paced story line. The finale was excellent.

Don't see it if If you don't like the Motown sound, don't go. If you don't like the biopic musical, don't go.

91
Absorbing, Must see, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing

See it if You like Motown music, great singing, and enjoy having fun.

Don't see it if You want a musical to dive deep into a subject matter.

85
Must see, Great staging, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You're a fan of the era, of Motown music and of course of The Temptations, and if you're a fan of superb acting, singing and orchestration

Don't see it if Any of the above doesn't apply to you

100
During previews
Absorbing, Must see, Great singing, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you were ever a Temptations fan or just love good music. Truly enjoyable from beginning to end.

Don't see it if you don't like jukebox type shows.

100
During previews
Must see, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Great acting

See it if The Singing, The Choreography On My!!! Motown at its finest!!

Don't see it if You do not like Motown Music

100
During previews
Entertaining, Refreshing, Great singing

See it if Enjoy jukebox musicals, Motown history and music or great choreography

Don't see it if Don't like Jukebox musicals

100
During previews
Must see, Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if you love a story of a well known group which allows you to find out things you never knew about them. If you love the Tempatations see it!

Don't see it if if you're not into the music of that era but you like a good story see it anyway you will love it. Very entertaining!

99
During previews
Great staging, Great writing, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you remember the Temptations and the 60's, 70's, 80's etc..

Don't see it if you don't like musicals

Also SEE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

99
During previews
Must see, Entertaining, Great singing, Great staging, Absorbing

See it if You want a tremendous evening of entertainment and a look into some of the heroes of the Black Right struggle

Don't see it if You’re not fan of music of the last half of the 20th century however if this is the case you really need to see it ASAP!!

99
During previews
Epic, Great staging, Great singing, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if If you LOVE MOTOWN & THE TEMPTATIONS REAL STORY IN MUSIC OR MUSICALS! IF YOU ENJOY STUPENDOUS DANCING & STORY TELLING! THEN ORCHESTRA SEATS!

Don't see it if DON'T LIKE MUSICALS, GREAT DANCING, SINGING & STORY TELLING....THE STAY HOME!! LET SOMEONE ELSE ENJOY THE RIDE & IT IS A RIDE!!

95
During previews
Must see, Great writing, Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if You love the music of the Temptations. Was truly a great show!

Don't see it if If you do not like musicals or the music of the Temptations.

95
During previews
Great staging, Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You love Motown, R&B and want a feel good time. Excellent show with a stellar cast - best singing and choreography I've seen in years!

Don't see it if You dislike Motown music or musicals or anything from this era.

95
During previews
Must see, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOST PROLIFIC R and B SINGING GROUP OF THAT ERA.THE SINGING WAS SIMPLY SPECTACULAR AND THERE WAS WONDER

Don't see it if IF YOU DON'T LIKE THE MOTOWN SOUND FROM THE SIXTIES.

Also FUL STAGING AS WELL.I ENJOYED HOW THE STORY UNFOLDS AND TALKS ABOUT EA... Read more Read less

93
During previews
Entertaining, Great singing, Must see, Great staging

See it if Great singing, dancing, phenominal cast & that music, a true delight!

Don't see it if You dont like jukebox musicals

92
During previews
Great soundtrack, Nostalgic fun, Great singing, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like Motown era songs, and quality jukebox shows "Jersey Boys" and "Beautiful". Too much narration & not enough dramatic action.

Don't see it if you don't know and like the Motown music (shame on you) or you don't care about pop/R&B music history.

92
During previews
Must see, Great staging, Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if Same Director as Jersey Boys and it feels similar in production. Found it entertaining, interesting story and enjoyable

Don't see it if You didn't like Jersey Boys

92
During previews
Must see, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if The story is so interesting and the music is phenomenal. See if you love jukebox musicals like “ beautiful” by Carole King. End suprises too

Don't see it if You want intense action drama comedy shows only. Even so.... see it anyway


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May 10, 2019 @ 8:00 pm
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$104
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May 26, 2019 @ 2:00 pm
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May 26, 2019 @ 2:00 pm
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Performances February 28 - April 13, 2019

Monday – Friday 
Orchestra from $89 – $109
Front Mezzanine from $79
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Performances April 14 – May 24, 2019

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Offer valid for select performances through May 24, 2019. Blackout dates may apply. All prices include a $2 facility fee. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

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Details

Performances February 28 - April 13, 2019 
Monday – Friday
Orchestra from $89 – $109
Front Mezzanine from $79
Tickets from $49

Saturday and Sunday
Orchestra from $109 – $119
Front Mezzanine from $89
Tickets from $49


Performances April 14 – May 24, 2019
Monday – Friday
Orchestra from $89 -- $119
Front Mezzanine from $79
Tickets from $49 

Saturday and Sunday
Orchestra from $109 – $129
Front Mezzanine from $99
Tickets from $49

Terms

Offer valid for select performances through May 24, 2019. Blackout dates may apply. All prices include a $2 facility fee. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Performance schedule subject to change. Ofeer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.

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Cast & Creatives (27)