Relive the Heady Days of Motown With This New London Musical

A new theatre deal has been signed, sealed and delivered—so get ready for the London launch of a new musical packed with Motown hits

You might have heard it through the grapevine, but it’s true—the Broadway hit Motown the Musical is coming to Shaftesbury Theatre.

Ever since it premiered in 2013 in New York, the show has received rave reviews. No wonder, as it has an award-winning cast and crew led by director Charles Randolph-Wright.

"There is a T-shirt at Motown Museum in Detroit that says 'Live It Again', and that is what I expect audiences will do," says Randolph-Wright. "For those too young to live it again, I hope they will 'live it' for the first time."

Motown the Musical, London, UK
Performing hits by The Supremes (©Joan Marcus)

The musical is based on the true story of Berry Gordy, an ambitious car assembly line worker in 50s Detroit. Following an $800 loan, Berry founded Motown Records, launching the careers of Diana Ross and the Supremes, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

The story begins in 1983 on the 25th anniversary of Motown Records, with Berry looking back over his career in an era of racial tension.

Berry is played by Cedric Neal, who starred in the Tony Award-winning Dreamgirls musical at Virginia’s Signature Theatre. Diana Ross is played by home-grown talent Lucy St Louis, following her stint in "Beautiful—The Carole King Musical" at London's Aldwych Theatre.

Motown the Musical, London, UK
The original Broadway cast of the musical, coming to the London stage (©Joan Marcus)

You’ll be thrown into the late '50s with a set inspired by Berry’s early record studio, and a wardrobe overflowing with Afro wigs, beehives and oversized collars.

But it’s the music you come for, and with a 16-piece orchestra and 67 feel-good hits, you won’t be disappointed. Get ready for all your Motown favourites including "My Girl", "Dancing In The Street" and "Stop! In the Name of Love".

Randolph-Wright adds: "My favorite part of the show is when Marvin Gaye sings 'What’s Going On' after Martin Luther King is assassinated and riots erupt. This type of unrest is unfortunately still present today and every time the cast performs it there is a palpable feeling in the audience. Diana Ross’ first appearance as a solo artist meanwhile brings the audience together as they time travel back to the 1970s. Then the roof blows off the theatre when a young Michael Jackson appears."

Motown the Musical, London, UK
Solo hits of Diana Ross sends the crowds wild (©Joan Marcus)

By the time it comes to the hit tune Do You Love Me?, no doubt you’ll be doing the mashed potato.

"Motown The Musical" runs from 11 Feb. Book tickets here.

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