The cast of Ain’t Too Proud arrive for the Opening Night and pose for a photo with Otis Williams , one of the founders of and sole remaining original member of The Temptations and Motown founder Barry Gordy
The new Musical Ain’t Too Proud The Life and Times of The Temptations opened this evening to a sold out star studded crowd at The Imperial Theater.
The play features the hit music of the bands 4 decades long catalog which included 4 Billboard number one singles and 14 R&B number one singles. In addition the band earned three Grammy’s and 6 founding / key members of the group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland OH.
As the title suggests the play is about so much more than the music as it explores the journey, as narrated by the sole surviving original member, Otis Williams, portrayed by Derik Baskin, from his arrival in Detroit at the early age of 16 through the bands heyday including various incarnations and the lives of the members and their struggles first to achieve fame and then to deal with the success.
The play is masterfully written and directed as is evidenced by the manner in which it slowly draws the audience into the epic journey, allowing them to feel a part of the group as they experience the highs and lows of a musical dynasty. In one scene the band is shown traveling by tour bus between shows and I felt as though I was actually riding the bus along with them. This show takes you there. The dancing seemed somehow updated and dare I say improved upon? It didn’t quite look like the shows I watched on American Bandstand as a child but they had a more modern and emotional relevant tone. Choreographer Sergio Trujillo did an excellent job updating the moves to match the emotions. The music was recreated in that full wall of sound style of the Motown era. My suggestion here – Get on the Bus!!! Don’t miss this fabulous show.
Two-time Tony winner Des McAnuff directs, with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo. The musical also features sets by Robert Brill, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy, projection design by Peter Nigrini, orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, and music direction by Kenny Seymour.
Venue: Imperial Theater 249 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036
Cast: Derrick Baskin, James Harkness, Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope, Ephraim Sykes, Saint Aubyn, Shawn Bowers, E. Clayton Cornelious, Taylor Symone Jackson, Jahi Kearse, Jarvis B. Manning Jr., Joshua Morgan, Rashidra Scott, Nasia Thomas, Christian Thompson, Candice Marie Woods, Esther Antoine, Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., Curtis Wiley
Director: Des McAnuff
Book: Dominique Morisseau, based on the book The Temptations by Otis Williams
Music and Lyrics: From The Legendary Motown Catalog
Set designer: Robert Brill
Costume designer: Paul Tazewell
Lighting designer: Howell Binkley
Sound designer: Steve Canyon Kennedy
Projection designer: Peter Nigrini
Orchestrations: Harold Wheeler
Music arrangements: Kenny Seymour
Choreographer: Sergio Trujillo
Presented by Ira Pittleman & Tom Hulce, Berkley Repertory Theatre, Sony ATV Music Publishing, EMI Entertainment World