January 10, 2015 |
Motown the Musical packs its score with some of the greatest hitmakers in music history: the Jackson 5, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Temptations, and the Commodores. As a story, though, it's missing only a cross for Motown records founder Berry Gordy to hang on. Gordy based the musical on his 1994 autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown . There's plenty of music and magic in the production now on tour at the Academy of Music; in addition to the bands or artists listed above, all the Motown records stars from the 1960s to 1980s get their 15 seconds of stage time in this 21/2-hour show (some, such as Teena Marie and Rick James, merely bookend a short-shrift collection of Motown's late-period hits)
January 4, 2015 |
When Berry Gordy talks about the legendary record company he started in Detroit back in 1959 (originally Tamla Records, it became the Motown Record Corp. in 1960), he describes an entity transcending music. "My Motown is like a tree," he says with relish. "We go out on branches in every different direction. " The sounds and sights of Smokey Robinson's Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the young Michael Jackson, the Temptations, the Four Tops, and Diana Ross (Gordy's onetime, longtime paramour)
January 2, 2015
SO, THERE you are, putting together what would ultimately become the Tony-glomming smash "Motown the Musical," the national tour of which on Tuesday opens a 13-day run at the Academy of Music. How in the world do you decide which songs from the label's impossibly rich and important catalogue to use, and which don't make the cut? "I always say, 'Motown the Musical' should be a 10-hour miniseries, but we have to do it in 2 1/2 hours," offered producer Kevin McCollum , the musical-theater powerhouse ("Avenue Q," "Rent," "In the Heights")
March 14, 2014 |
NATURE OR NURTURE? It' a fair question to put to Rhonda Ross - only love child of supremely gifted song stylist Diana Ross and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy - as Rhonda preps for her area club debut tomorrow. The venue? The aptly named, genre-crossing Rrazz Room cabaret in New Hope. Yes, Rhonda Ross has a look that identifies her as a mix of her parents. (Raised as a Silberstein, Rhonda didn't know Gordy was her biological dad until age 13.) Some resemblances also are noted in her singing voice, especially the way Rhonda modulates final notes - with a pitchy waver that's part of the Diana Ross signature.
November 18, 2013 |
'My dream was to make some music and get some girls," says Berry Gordy Jr. "My bar was low. As I went on, new doors kept opening. I exceeded my wildest dreams. " He pauses for a moment. It's been a very good year for the founder of Motown Records, who will be 84 on Nov. 28. Since his jukebox autobiography's debut on Broadway in April, Motown The Musical has made $45 million. In June, the Songwriters Hall of Fame honored him with its pioneer award. Earlier this month, he received Ebony magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award.
September 27, 2013 |
PHILLY'S OWN Jill Scott likes not being Jill Scott, if only for a little while. She hits the big screen tomorrow in "Baggage Claim," playing Gail, the cheeky best friend to Paula Patton 's lovelorn flight attendant who doesn't realize that love might not require a boarding pass. Saucy Gail is quite different from songstress Scott or even the Jill Scott who has inhabited other roles, like Precious in "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" or Sheila in "Why Did I Get Married?"
June 5, 2013 |
Berry Gordy, the 83-year-old founder of Motown Records, the Detroit label that became a hit-making factory and produced such stars as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and Michael Jackson, is the recipient of the 2013 Marian Anderson Award, Mayor Nutter announced Monday. The award, given to "artists and individuals whose body of work has improved the world beyond the power to entertain," is named for the late African American contralto and South Philadelphia High graduate who was celebrated as a singer of both classical music and spirituals in her lifetime.
January 25, 2013 |
THERE WERE plenty of one-hit girl wonders in the 1960s. Start with juvenile cuties like "Locomotion" chirper Little Eva and come-ons like the Ronettes ("Be My Baby") and the Shangri-Las ("Leader of the Pack") - bad girls you'd never take home to meet mom. Then there were the Supremes, a glamour-girl group built for the long haul - and crossover appeal to audiences of every age, stripe and skin tone - with their low-keyed, lilting vocal tones and lush, string- and horn-endowed Holland-Dozier-Holland pop-soul gems.