Broadway In Chicago is happy to introduce “Short and Sweet,” a quick view of our shows courtesy of Diana Martinez, who will give you the lowdown on Broadway In Chicago productions from the perspective of an audience member. Diana has more than 25 years of experience as an entertainment executive, most recently as President of The Second City. She has directed and produced over 40 live Broadway musical theatre shows and has presented more than 350 world-class Broadway national tours, dance, headline comedians and concert. We hope you enjoy this quick insight into our shows, and since this is all about our audience, share your own thoughts with us in the comments below.
Motown the Musical Made My Day!
The cast of the Broadway hit Motown The Musical swooped into The Hard Rock Café in Chicago on September 16, 2013 to give the press a sneak peak of what is to come next April when the First Broadway National Tour will kick off – right here in the Windy City at the Oriental Theatre.
What a thrill it was to see a preview by this veteran cast, who was bursting with energy, enthusiasm, and so much talent. I got goosebumps as the first few notes played and the electrifying cast took the stage and performed a powerful rendition of “Get Ready.” The show’s dapper and eloquent producer, Kevin McCollum welcomed the crowd and humbly expressed his gratitude to the city of Chicago for kicking off for the national tour, then described his personal connection to the city, where he began his theatrical career as an actor at the Marriott Theatre and the Drury Lane Theatre, and continued to express his confidence in Chicago as the greatest theater city in the US, adding, “I know the audiences here are fantastic!”
The story revolves around the early days of the Motown label and its founder Berry Gordy’s romance with Diana Ross. Co-producer Doug Morris and long time friend of Gordy took the stage and explained how the project came about when he was chatting with Gordy one day and encouraged him to write his story – “the real story” – from his own point of view.
Director Charles Randolph-Wright took the stage and explained his perspective on the magic of the Motown music. He explained that during the ’60’s, with the Civil rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the country was divided. Motown music provided a unifying and healing force and an opportunity for differences to be put aside and for everyone to “dance together.”
The program ended with an amazing version of the Jackson 5’s “ABC” with young Raymond Luke, Jr. stealing the show complete with all of Michael Jackson’s best moves. The crowd was crazy for this cast, and I’d say, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and ready for more.
I had the privilege of speaking with the legendary record producer and writer Berry Gordon after the program. Since he was such a pro at picking hits , I asked him if there was one special thing he looked for in a song, to which he responded: “I look for songs that moved me, and that I related to in a strong way – you can understand a song – but when you can relate to it – is when you know it’s right.”
Berry certainly knew how to pick ‘em and lucky for us it’s all wrapped up in a fabulous package called Motown The Musical. It’s coming to Broadway In Chicago April 22 and I can’t wait!