THE TEMPTATIONS RETURN TO THE BAY AREA “GET READY’ FOR PERFECT R&B
WRITER DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU BRINGS OTIS WILLIAMS STORY AND MOTOWN CATALOG OF THE TEMPTATIONS SONGS IN AN IMPRESSIVE JUKEBOX MUSICAL
Review by Vince Mediaa
BroadwaySF welcomes back AIN'T TOO PROUD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS. The Tony honored musical opened in Berkeley back in 2018. The feel good musical is now on stage at the Golden Gate Theatre through December 4th. Written by Dominique Morisseau based on the book written by Otis Williams. The music and lyrics are directly from the iconic Motown Catalog. Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff, and featuring choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo. A powerful cast and team makes this National Tour a Holiday gift. After the banner song “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” the show opens with the classic “Baby Love”.
"You never know who was hating you and singing along to your record," says Otis Williams played by Marcus Paul James in this excellent bio-musical. His observation comes after he assembles his singers and friends who will one day be named the most popular rhythm and blues act of all time. The story takes us to the dark times as their tour bus becomes a target with gunfire and racist threats as they head south in an attempt to cross over to the mainstream southern white community.
24 dynamic men have performed as members of The Temptations since the group's inception. AIN'T TOO PROUD focus’ on the quintet that fans refer to as “The Classic Five”. Adapted from Williams' memoir, it has a lot of ground to cover with both the ensemble's success and tragedies. The drama begins with Motown mogul Berry Gordy, played by Michael Andreaus, takes the five young men from Detroit into a successful crossover act. Barry’s crossover queens The Supremes sing “You Can’t Hurry Love”. The guys sing alongside the women who are at the top of charts while the men deal with extreme racism on the tour across the south.
A powerful moment as they make their national television debut on Dick Clark's Philadelphia-based "American Bandstand." They perform the musical's title song in front of historic photos by projection designer Peter Nigrini. We see a studio audience made up exclusively of cheerful white teenagers.
As the narrator of the evening, Otis, who after serving six months in juvenile detention for gang activity and robbery. He decided to turn his young life around. "Definitely didn't think we had a hit with those lyrics. 'You got a smile so bright, you know you could have been a candle?' Ain't exactly Langston Hughes." He recruits his friend crooner Eddie Kendricks and tenor Paul Williams and easy-going bass Melvin Franklyn. But later he adds David Ruffin, whose unique combination of vocals and smooth delivery, with brash show stopping swag - who brings the Temptations to fame. "My Girl " becomes their first hit
Director Des McAnuff, sets these intimate stories against a backdrop of public stages. He keeps the energy flowing and choreographer Sergio Trujillo creates the classic movements that become as iconic as the group's gold records. The highlight is a clean gray background set designed by Robert Brill and lighting designer Howell Binkley sets off the banners of all the venues they perform in. The audience's view of the set gradually evolves from black and white to full color.
Priceless Motown songs like "Just My Imagination," "Get Ready" and "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" is AIN'T TOO PROUD main attraction, Morisseau's storytelling is just as important as the musical showstoppers. This national tour is a welcome holiday treat for Bay Area audiences and proves the R&B sound is part of the American Heritage of music.”You Can’t Hurry Love” Great rush tickets available for every performance at the Box Office 2 hours before each show.
Broadway SF Presents
AIN’T TOO PROUD
The Life and Times of the TEMPTATIONS
Written by Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Des McAnuff
Based on Otis Williams book The Temptations
MUST CLOSE DEC 4th
Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St
The show runs 2 hours and 40 minutes and one intermission
Tickets: $56-$256 (subject to change); 888-746-1799, www.shnsf.com
PHOTO CREDIT: Emilio Madrid / BroadwaySF