Vintage Hits Shine at The Fox's 'Motown The Musical'

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

“Motown the Musical” opened at The Fabulous Fox last night, and the performance was every bit as spectacular as intended, with great set design and no fewer than 66 songs highlighting the best of Motown, from the Temptations up to Teena Marie. The musical’s book, by Barry Gordy, the founder of Motown, is an energetic, illuminating trip through some great musical decades.

Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Based on Gordy’s 1994 autobiography, “To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown,” the story begins in the late ’30s and continues until the late ’80s, as Gordy’s empire has dissolved, along with his relationship with Diana Ross. While Gordy is always at the center of the show, the performance also explores the effect Motown had on youth culture and how it intertwined with the social issues and politics of its heyday.

Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Even though much of the audience was older, having grown up in Motown’s golden era, it’s a great show for a younger crowd, too: The hits are still infectious for early twenty-somethings (ahem), and this writer came out of the performance knowing a lot more about the era, including some really interesting stories behind some of Motown’s biggest hits.

Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Photo courtesy of The Fabulous Fox Theatre.

Good to Know:

  • Expect a long performance (three hours), but with a song less than every three minutes, even that pace is a quick one.
  • Clapping along is encouraged. Singing along is encouraged. Singing along even when not encouraged tends to happen.
  • If you’re a “handsome man or a silver fox” and sitting front right, Diana Ross will find you. One poor bloke last night got over any fear of karaoke he ever had. For life.
  • Although, as ever, Ross will steal the show, keep an eye out for a (very) young Michael Jackson—that kid’s a gem.
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