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Weak praise for 'Motown: The Musical' ~ The Reviews

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Weak praise for 'Motown: The Musical' ~ The Reviews

Post by Admin on Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:45 pm

Reviews are in: Weak praise for 'Motown: The Musical'
By Detroit News wire services

4/16/13

Songs, performers overwhelmingly good, but storyline lacks depth

Here is a roundup of critics across the country who reviewed "Motown: The Musical":

New York Times, Charles Isherwood
For all the richness of its gold-and-platinum-plated soundtrack, "Motown" would be a much more satisfying nostalgia trip if Mr. 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.

Associated Press, Mark Kennedy
The 2½-hour show, about Motown Records under founder Berry Gordy, opened Sunday at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre completely unbalanced: The songs are staggering, the book utterly flimsy.

Both are due to one man: Gordy, who clearly knows what makes an indelible hit song, but also has an inability to write objectively about that skill. As the book writer, Gordy comes across almost divine, a true visionary who literally changed the world and race relations but was eventually abandoned by the artists he made stars when they sought to cash in. There are parts of the show that even a North Korean dictator would find excessively flattering.

Charles Randolph-Wright proves a director with real skill, able to seamlessly juggle an insane amount of songs, dozens of scenes and harness some quite stunning performances, led by a go-for-it Brandon Victor Dixon as Gordy and Valisia LeKae as Diana Ross …

Variety, Marilyn Stasio
The Broadway faithful (at least, the part that covers the Baby Boomer demographic ranging from "mature" to "doddering") will have its mantra ready when cooler heads point out that "Motown: the Musical" is a hot mess. Should anyone note that Berry Gordy's kissy-face tribute to himself has no shape, depth, thematic point or dramatic continuity, the proper response should be: "We don't care!" And why should any nostalgic music-hound care, when this jubilant jukebox musical comes loaded with great singers, tons of energy, and dozens of classic Motown roof-raisers?

Entertainment Weekly,Thom Geier
Brandon Victor Dixon is a charismatic Gordy, and Valisia LeKae nails the understated intensity of young Diana Ross. Raymond Luke Jr. (alternating with Jibreel Mawry) proves a scene-stealer in roles as a young Berry, Stevie Wonder, and especially Michael Jackson.

In the ensemble, Saycon Sengbih stands out as a soulful Martha Reeves, while Eric LaJuan Summers brings a lurid, loose-limbed showmanship to figures like Jackie Wilson and Rick James. But as good as the cast is, none are quite able to shake the indelible aural memory of the original performers. It's mighty hard to live up to legends …

The real stars, though, are those tunes. If Broadway producers insist on producing jukebox musicals, there's no better jukebox to seek out than the classic Motown catalog. And while Gordy's script may be an awkward ball of confusion, to cite a late Temptations hit, you might not be able to help yourself (sugar pie, honey bunch) from having a just good enough time.

The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney
Having registered four consecutive weeks of preview grosses north of $1 million and racked up a stellar $16 million advance, the evidence suggests this is a brand that may not require critical support.

The production appears to have been cast primarily with an eye toward vocal skills, and there's considerable pleasure to be had watching stand-ins for Motown stars tear through their hits.

Among the most memorably showcased numbers are Wilson's "Reet Petite," The Contours' "Do You Love Me," The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion," Diana Ross & the Supremes doing "Stop in the Name of Love" on The Ed Sullivan Show, and a terrific Jackson 5 medley led by Raymond Luke Jr., who brings down the house with his effortless charm as the young Michael Jackson.

From The Detroit News: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: Weak praise for 'Motown: The Musical' ~ The Reviews

Post by ijustcan'tstoplovinguMJ on Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:02 pm

they showed a bit of this on ET some nights ago i wish i could see it!
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