Q&A: STL Native Doug Storm Discusses Why 'Motown the Musical' Is Relevant Today

By Katie Davis
In Culture

On Tuesday, The Fox Theatre hosts “Motown the Musical,” a highly acclaimed show featuring music straight from Detroit’s Motown songbook, including “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

While the musical features these favorites throughout, it also presents the history of Motown and those who helped make the music a success, despite the odds. St. Louis native Doug Storm performs in this Broadway hit, and ALIVE spoke with him about his roles before the show arrives in St. Louis this week.

ALIVE: What’s your role in this musical? Do you play multiple roles?
Doug Storm:  Yes, I play numerous roles, which is really fun and different than a lot of the shows I’ve been in. Some of my most significant characters in “Motown” are Ed Sullivan and also Shelly Berger, who was known as the manager of Diana Ross, The Supremes and other famous Motown musicians.

Berger is my main character, and once I start playing him, I settle into that for the rest of the show. A few of us in the cast actually play utility roles as well and then go in and out of the more specialty roles.

ALIVE: Explain why “Motown the Musical” is unique. Why should people go see the musical when it comes to The Fox?
DS: This musical is so much fun—it’s high energy and so positive, even as it deals with tricky issues related to race and prejudices. Right now, given what’s happening in the St. Louis area and around the country, it’s very relevant.

ALIVE: So, you think it’s an appropriate show to go see, given all of the events surrounding Ferguson?
DS: Well, it’s very relevant. It discusses all of these important kind of issues that are still going on today. But the musical is also light and not preachy at all. It does make you think.

Overall, its message is that, as people, we need to stay vigilant about these issues and stay united, but through peace and happiness rather than through violence or hate.

ALIVE: What kind of audience does this show attract, and why?
DS: I’m not just saying this, but “Motown” is great in the sense it can attract so many different types of people. It’s not your stereotypical musical. Sure, the people who typically go to The Fox and like seeing shows will go see it. But because the music is all filled with songs that many people know from when they were younger or just because the music is so prevalent in our society, this show will attract so many different groups of people. It’s fun and lively, and it’s great for audience members of all backgrounds, ages, music tastes and more.

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