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Apr 16, 2018

Motown the Musical Preview

By Broadway Live INSIDER - Michael J. Miller

Where were you the night of March 25, 1983?

Chances are you were among the 34 million people watching Michael Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean", Smokey Robinson's long-awaited reunion with The Miracles, a Temptations/Four Tops "battle of the bands", Marvin Gaye's inspired speech about black music history and his performance of "What's Going On", a Jackson 5 reunion, and an abbreviated reunion of Diana Ross & The Supremes, who performed their final #1 hit "Someday We'll Be Together" from 1969.

"Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever" brought all of this and more from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium to televisions across America on NBC.

The occasion of that celebratory concert and television special provides the framework for the final show of the Broadway Live at the Opera House season, the record-breaking Motown the Musical.

Berry Gordy, Motown's founder, had very mixed emotions about the whole 25th-anniversary affair. Still angry with all those same artists who abandoned him and Motown Records for bigger contracts at bigger record companies, he almost didn't even go.

As Motown the Musical begins, Mr. Gordy is spitefully refusing to leave his home as the big party for him is commencing in Pasadena. Enter Smokey Robinson, who comes by to beg him to attend. Like a modern-day Scrooge, Berry is then visited by the ghosts of his past to remind him of his journey from the young man who wrote hit songs for Jackie Wilson to the music mogul who launched some of the greatest artists of the 1960s and '70s.

No matter where you were on that night in 1983 when millions were mesmerized by Motown on NBC, I know where you need to be this April 27-29. At the Lexington Opera House, when the Motown magic comes alive and we'll all be dancin' in our seats.

INSIDER TIP: Keep a "Kentucky proud" eye out for ensemble cast member Arielle Crosby, a graduate of Kentucky State University and Louisville native Chase Phillips. Making his first national tour debut, Chase makes a phenomenal star-making turn as the young Michael Jackson.