New York | 2h 40m | Already closed

Motown: The Musical

From 23 critic and 497 member reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Must see, Great staging

About the show

This Broadway musical tells the story behind some of Motown's most famous songs, featuring Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, and the Temptations. Now returning for a limited 18-week engagement. More…

'Motown: the Musical' tells the true story behind the famous music that took the world by storm. Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations – 'Motown: the Musical' shows how these legendary artists and so many more created the soundtrack that transformed America. With over 40 classic songs such as 'My Girl,' 'What’s Going On,' 'Dancing in the Street,' and 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine.'

2h 40m | Already closed | Nederlander Theatre (Midtown W)

Real Mr.Housewife

"Among the best things I’ve ever seen on a stage…Along the way we get top-notch performances of some of our favorite Motown songs…The revival was flawless. There wasn’t one member of the cast who couldn’t sing and didn’t give their all to their role...I felt like the story of 'Motown' is more relevant than ever…While a ticket to a Broadway show can be expensive, I urge you to go see 'Motown' during its limited engagement revival. You will not be disappointed." Full Review

Front Row Center

"The show is high octane from beginning to end and we’re along for the ride every step of the way…This conceit gives Gordy more than enough opportunity to present us with the incredible acts he shepherded to stardom, while showcasing a roster of today’s talent that is every bit as soul stirring as the originals they’re portraying. Every single person in the cast was excellent…You’d have to be a curmudgeon of the highest order not to enjoy this show." Full Review


"The newest incarnation of ‘Motown’ is tighter with lines cut, sets scaled back and more reliance on projection video. It’s also -- and this is me talking now -- more endearing…The new cast is noticeably at ease with the material...Chester Gregory, as the central figure, is driven and insistent…Effective, as well, is Jarran Muse as a soulful Marvin Gaye...What we have here is an improved and infectious excuse to revisit dozens of Motor City chestnuts." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"The cast is close to ideal, and the music and lyrics work. The book attempts too much and, in places, tries to tell a fifteen-month story in fifteen seconds. As a result, some of the dialogue reads like narration, and if the acting is stilted in these places...So what? Who goes to a musical called 'Motown' to worry about the playwright’s craft? You’re there for the music, and the show delivers that many times over...The singing is on target and so passionate." Full Review

The New York Times

“Under Charles Randolph-Wright’s direction, it remains what it was: a sparkling and enjoyable, if lumpy, journey through 25 years of Motown history...The central roles have been recast, with excellent singing actors who are mostly equal to the fine originals…‘Motown’ has so much story to tell that there’s no time for dramatic subtlety or complexity of character. But who’s coming to see 'Motown' for anything other than the fabulous songbook?” Full Review


"Led by the ultradynamic Chester Gregory, this slightly revised version seems to have more energy and bonhomie than before. Yes, the show is still a bit self-serving and the book is riddled with ridiculous omissions, chronological mistakes, and clichéd dialogue that can make you cringe. But if you love the songs that came from this legendary record label, it’s all ultimately a bit hard to resist...You can shop around for a 'better' show, but not many at which you’ll have more fun!" Full Review

The Associated Press

“The revival is alternately catchy and soulful, and overstuffed with memorable melodies...Gordy’s book sometimes awkwardly juxtaposes tragedy with personal moments...The hardworking ensemble of 33 take multiple roles and dance their feet off...Pulsating choreography evolves with the changing times...If Gordy is a little grandiose about his accomplishments, well, he’s telling the story and there’s no denying the enormous contribution he made to American music.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"The musical's chief problem remains the clunky, self-serving book by Gordy himself...You can feel the audience's delight as one hit song after another is presented...Director Randolph-Wright keeps things flowing seamlessly, with the musical numbers and dramatic scenes blending into one another at a rapid enough pace to keep boredom from settling in...Still, it's hard not to see the entire enterprise as a glorified tribute show.” Full Review

AM New York

"The storytelling has a passive, paint-by-numbers quality, but you can’t deny the pure entertainment value of Charles Randolph-Wright’s large-scale, movement-intensive production and a score comprised of hit after hit after hit after hit...This unfocused, unwieldy overload works both to the show’s benefit and detriment. The nostalgic fun never stops, but 'Motown' never slows down to give its characters more than a purely superficial treatment." Full Review


“It's a dizzying experience that feels like a good nostalgia concert at best, a work of self-serving propaganda at worst...The awesome score should be enough to make us forgive Gordy for his revisionist history, but the truncated and adrenaline-infused musical numbers too often leave us feeling hollow and bewildered...If you can ignore the cringe-inducing book scenes, you will probably have a good time.” Full Review

New York Theater

“Most everything about this production is more….efficient….than the original one on Broadway. The cast has been reduced in size; sets have been simplified; scenes have been trimmed or excised...Unfortunately, the efficiency seems to extend to the performances as well...The cast members make all the right moves, their voices are in fine form, but there surely needs to be some extra, indefinable spark to stand out...Maybe they’ve just been on the road too long.” Full Review


"It's a highly dramatic story that not only sings, but comes with its own collection of sensational songs...But the end result not only speaks for the fact that Gordy has never written a musical before, the clunky dialogue and the static storytelling makes one seriously wonder if he's ever seen one...Bio-musicals 'Beautiful' and 'On Your Feet!' display far more literary sophistication...But if the book disappoints, the dynamic company is well worth catching." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"It plays as an entirely different, and noticeably less compelling, show than the original version that ran on Broadway...This is not to say I was an enormous fan of that incarnation—I wasn't—but it had a size, energy, and (relative) intensity that this one lacks...It's imparted a jagged choppiness that keeps the evening from cohering...Only the choreography lives up to expectations. Well, that and the music— hits far too numerous to list, even if many of them appear as only fragments. " Full Review


for a previous production "'Motown the Musical' is a solid gold hit...The staggering amount of talent, creativity and love that was the Motown Sound and the story behind its founder Berry Gordy will touch your heart and put the beat back in your feet...Having the through line of racism and Motown's role in affecting change through music was really touching...This theme grounded the show and made it more than just a story." Full Review

London Theatre

for a previous production "It is mostly standard-issue hagiography...But all doubts dissipate as those songs keep coming at us. And Randolph-Wright's slick, sleek production, with exhilarating choreography of non-stop movement and an amazing band, makes the music come alive in sound, motion and emotion. 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours' is one of them; and I felt that the same about the show by the time it reached its uproarious finale...It is thrilling to see so much exceptional talent on one stage." Full Review

The Telegraph (UK)

for a previous production "The book is the evening’s weak spot. The dialogue is sometimes so bald it could use an emergency toupet...Bolstered by ingenious, fast-moving, projection-enlivened scenery, expert choreography and sure direction, the cast have a platinum-plated ball...Confronting us with energy and spirit of that irrepressible order, the show moves beyond being a welcome nostalgia fest and becomes an urgent rallying cry for us all to rediscover our Motown mojo." Full Review

Express UK

for a previous production "Squeezing the well-known hits into one show proves hard especially when there is a story to tell and the first half suffers from medley-itis at times. But then the changes in the social and political climate are sketched in including Martin Luther King, the Ku Klux Klan and the protests against the Vietnam War so the songs take on a greater weight and are given more room to breathe." Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production "It is true that ‘jukebox’ musicals like this usually lack a deep and meaningful story, and this is no exception...However, this show is all about the songs. About 50 of them are performed throughout the show, although not all of them receive the full treatment...Quite frankly, who cares if the story is a little too simple? 'Motown The Musical' is two and a half hours of musical happiness, and I had an absolute blast." Full Review

San Jose Mercury News

for a previous production "The irresistible Motown catalog is the real star here. But after a while you begin to crave a little more connective tissue between the golden oldies...Still the performers are joyous and bright, winning us over with their sense of fun and exuberance...To be fair, if what you really want is a high-voltage blast from R&B's past, this musical will satisfy you. The sketchy book can't dim the propulsive power of the songs. Ain't no mountain high enough for that." Full Review

Seattle Times

for a previous production "Over 50 tunes are housed in an airbrushed, hackneyed history of Motown that pales next to the ecstatic force of the music...The 'Motown' dialogue is littered with trite, clunky lines...But as whirlwind news images whisk us through the turbulent 1960s, 'Motown’s success is wisely placed in a cultural-political context of emerging black pride and civil-rights activism...Yet it’s the soulful, snappy, slickly staged music numbers that sell the show." Full Review

The New York Times

for a previous production "For all the richness of its gold-and-platinum-plated soundtrack, 'Motown' would be a much more satisfying nostalgia trip if Gordy and his collaborators were more effective curators of both story and song, rather than trying to encompass the whole of the label’s fabled history in two and a half hours. Irresistible as much of the music is, I often had the frustrating impression that I was being forced to listen to an LP being played at the dizzying, distorting speed of a 45." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "Eager as I am as the next person to learn more about the Motown mogul, I was disappointed at how little I discovered. The appeal of this all-too-typical modern musical lies in the capacity of the 50 numbers. The musical’s book is a shaky vehicle largely designed to facilitate the songs...It’s a fascinating rags-to-riches story but this version leaves all the key questions unanswered...The music, of course, is what people will go for and it is put across with great pizzazz." Full Review

The Independent (UK)

for a previous production "There’s rich dramatic potential in the Detroit label’s history. Instead, we get a squished potted-history using Gordy’s own dismal, stiff dialogue...Still, the band is tight, the top notes hit, the large ensemble have buckets of sass and groove, and audiences inevitably approach these much-loved songs with a sizeable portion goodwill...But 'Motown, the Musical' shines far less brightly, lacking smarts as well as soul." Full Review

Enchanting, Entertaining, Funny, Great singing, Must see

See it if You love Motown records and their music.

Don't see it if You dont like Motown

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great singing, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if i just loved it i'm waiting to see when it's coming back so i can take my husband and my daugther to see it as well

Don't see it if no comments that's how good it is

Funny, Must see, Masterful, Intense, Riveting

See it if Loved it! Want to see it again!

Don't see it if You want to miss one of the best shows on broadway!

Entertaining, Clever, Great singing, Masterful, Must see

See it if You love classic Motown music.

Don't see it if You don't like Motown hits.

Absorbing, Delightful, Enchanting, Clever, Masterful

See it if You like Motown music

Don't see it if You don't like Motown music

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great staging, Riveting, Great acting

See it if You have seen the movie and are familiar with the story

Don't see it if You are under the age of 5

Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if Great show and fun

Don't see it if no reason not to see it

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Must see

See it if you love Motown music & would like to see a live representation of Berry Gordy's autobiography and the history of Motown and its performers.

Don't see it if don't like: Motown music, history of music; or plainly don't want to sing and dance in your seat.

Epic, Great singing, Great staging, Must see

See it if you don't want to miss a beat!

Don't see it if you have no soul!

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if If you like Motown music

Don't see it if If you don't like Motown music

Clever, Enchanting, Entertaining, Exquisite, Great staging

See it if You like 70's beautiful songs.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy music or dancing, also I believe is closing soon.

Ambitious, Absorbing, Entertaining, Must see, Great singing

See it if You are a huge Motown Music fan!

Don't see it if You only like original performances

Entertaining, Must see, Clever, Delightful, Great singing

See it if If you love the Temptations, Little Stevie Wonder and the Motown sound this is a show for you

Don't see it if what's not to like??

Entertaining, Exquisite, Must see, Great singing


Don't see it if YOU DONT LIKE MOTOWN

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Relevant, Profound

See it if you love music history

Don't see it if you don't love classic songs from the last 50-60 years.

Entertaining, Great singing, Delightful, Refreshing, Timeless

See it if You are into Motown music and are not expecting more than that

Don't see it if You dont like Motown music

Entertaining, Great singing, Masterful, Must see, Absorbing

See it if You love Motown music!

Don't see it if You dislike Motown music

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Great singing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy musicals

Don't see it if you are not interested in that type of music

Entertaining, Great singing, Clever

See it if You love the music

Don't see it if You aren't interested in that time period

Exquisite, Great singing, Great acting, Great writing, Refreshing

See it if Well, now you can't. But, if you like Motown music. It was nice to see a Jukebox musical done so well. I was honestly blown away.

Don't see it if It closed. So you can't. But, if it comes back, everyone should see it. There are tunes that everyone will know and love.

Entertaining, Great singing, Resonant

See it if You like history of music and like variety acts strung together with a story thread.

Don't see it if You don't like shows with vignettes. It is a string of music performances. You didn't like beautiful....very similar.

Entertaining, Delightful, Great singing

See it if Must see if you like Motown!!!

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

Great singing, Great staging, Delightful, Slow

See it if You love the Motown of yesteryear.

Don't see it if You don't like the music of Motown because the that is the entire focus of the show.

Entertaining, Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Must see

See it if You want to learn about Berry Gordy and Motown.

Don't see it if You don't want to hear great music

Entertaining, Absorbing, Great singing, Wonderful, Biographical

See it if you are a Motown fan and interested in the stories behind the music.

Don't see it if you won't appreciate the songs of the era and couldn't care less about the stories behind them.

Cast & Creatives (48)