Motown Musical Leads to Dancing in the Street

West End sensation Motown the Musical will dance its way onto the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre’s stage from February 5 – 23.

Telling the story of the famous record label founded in 1959, this London production continues to play to standing ovations at the Shaftesbury Theatre where it is about to enter its third year. With music and lyrics from the Motown catalogue and book by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Charles Randolph-Wright’s production features a live orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks including ‘ABC’, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘Dancing in the Street’, ‘I’ll Be There’, ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’, ‘I Want You Back’, My Girl’, ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’, ‘War’ and ‘You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.’

Telling the story behind these popular hits, Motown the Musical is centred on Gordy. Beginning with just $800 borrowed from his family, he goes from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul, discovering and launching the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more.  Organisers say Motown the Musical uncovers the true story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation.

Nominated for four Tony awards, Motown the Musical received its world premiere in April 2013 in New York and recouped its $18 million investment by the end of 2014.  Its first US national tour opened to critical acclaim in Spring 2014 in Chicago, grossing $20 million during its standing room only 16-week run. It continues to play to packed houses across America.

Speaking about the play’s upcoming run at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Gordy said in a statement: “The UK has always been the gateway for Motown to the rest of the world.  While on the West End it continues to perform to great audiences, I’m thrilled that we are taking a second production of Motown the Musical to Ireland.”

As well as being a songwriter and producer, Gordy was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, releasing the recorded speeches of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, Motown’s brand of soul with a distinct pop influence played an important role in the racial integration of popular music as it was one of the first African American-owned labels to achieve significant crossover success.

On account of his work, Gordy has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Pioneer Award, the Grammy Salute to Industry Icon’s President’s Merit Award and was honoured by President Barack Obama with a Salute to Motown evening at the White House.

Gordy is also no stranger to musicals. Working in the film industry, he directed 1975 film Mahogany starring Motown artist Diana Ross, alongside Anthony Perkins and Billy Dee Williams. He also produced 1972 biopic Lady Sings the Blues in which Ross portrayed legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday.

The Motown founder’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture is chronicled in his 1994 autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown, on which the story of Motown the Musical is based.

Tickets for Motown the Musical are available from €21. They are on sale now via Ticketmaster.

Also, at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre this month is the powerful interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s ballet masterpiece Swan Lake from Tony-award winning choreographer Matthew Bourne. Adapted for 21st century audiences, it will run from February 26 until March 2.

For more details visit the theatre’s site here.

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