Motown the Musical is playing at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis through December 28 and you do not want to miss it. Motown was an American record company founded in 1959 by Berry Gordy. Gordy went from dreaming of boxing to launching the careers of some of the most well-known artists of all time, such as the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and many more. This show follows the story of Motown, specifically focusing on Gordy’s relationships with many of his stars, including his romantic relationship with Dianna Ross.
Overall the performance was spectacular. The main focus of the show was, obviously, the music. Overall sixty songs were played, yet I could have stayed all night listening to the catchy tunes. Every song was just as impressive and full of energy as the next. The range of vocals was simply amazing. All the leads were strong singers. The mics cut off at one point and it was hard to hear some of the background singers. Hopefully this was just opening night glitches. Despite the focus on music the acting was still up to par with Broadway. The dancing was simple but fit with the era and did not distract from the music. The only issue I had was that the first act seemed to drag on.
The set itself was remarkable in its effective simplicity. Basic frames were used for each scene, switching positions and size to fit the mood or era. This show included a lot of the politics about racism which were going on during that time. I loved how they used real news reals during the scenes where it was relevant. The costuming fit the decades perfectly and was not over the top. One of my first thoughts as the curtain went up was: all the men wore extremely shiny shoes.
You could feel the energy of the show throughout the room. I doubt that there was a single person who wasn’t tapping their toes. During the show you could hear people murmuring excitedly when a favorite song started to play. At one point, Diana Ross who was magnificently played by Allison Semmes, came out and interacted with the audience. She invited several people to come sing with her. What followed was several minutes of talented and… not so talented audience members singing that had everyone cheering and laughing.
Without a doubt I recommend this show. It’s a bit too long for preteens, but appropriate for all ages otherwise. Despite the lengthy first half and the faulty mics, you cannot miss this upbeat musical that will keep you singing Motown for the rest of the day