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“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
“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
"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
"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
“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 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
"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
"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 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
“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 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 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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
See it if you're a fan of 1983's tv special "Motown: Yesterday Today Forever". It's the LIVE jukebox musical of that night, w/a ton of B Gordy drama.
Don't see it if you don't want to sit thru B Gordy over-indulgent self-aggrandizing background fluff. How much of it is true or not doesn't add to the show.
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.
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.
See it if You are a Motown fan and accept that the voices are not identical to the originals. The Diana Ross role was superb.
Don't see it if You do not enjoy biographically-based shows or if you do not enjoy concert-like shows. I found it thoroughly entertaining.
See it if I knew what it was going in, yet I expected better. Great music of course, but the plot was so thin, the chemistry so lacking - a big meh.
Don't see it if You want a story with substance or a dynamic production; this felt tired & shopworn.
See it if you love the music of Motown and enjoy high-energy singing. It's a great time if you love the music.
Don't see it if you are not familiar with the music, as otherwise the relatively weak book will be a serious drawback.
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.
See it if you love Motown music. Kept most of the audience swaying all night. Unfortunately some political issues still relevant today; good exposure.
Don't see it if you don't enjoy this genre. Or if you desire a very compelling storyline, although I was pleased by it.