Musical show at Edinburgh Playhouse tells the story of Motown

The classic sounds of Motown are being brought to the stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse in the hit show Motown the Musical.  (Photos: Tristram Kenton)
The classic sounds of Motown are being brought to the stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse in the hit show Motown the Musical. (Photos: Tristram Kenton)

A sensational hit show – telling the story of the marvellous sound of Motown music – is currently on its debut Scottish run at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Motown the Musical is at the Playhouse until Saturday, December 8.

With music and lyrics from the Motown catalogue and based in the book by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Charles Randolph-Wright’s production features a live orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks – including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I’ll Be There, Dancing In The Street, Stop! In The Name Of Love, My Girl and I Heard It through the Grapevine – and tells the story behind these classic hits.

The show features Edward Baruwa in the leading role of ‘Berry Gordy’, Karis Anderson as ‘Diana Ross’, Nathan Lewis as ‘Smokey Robinson’ and Shak Gabbidon-Williams as ‘Marvin Gaye’.

With just $800 borrowed from his family, Motown founder Berry Gordy 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.

Motown the Musical uncovers the true story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation.

Tony-nominated Motown the Musical received its world premiere in April 2013 in New York and recouped its $18 million investment by the end of 2014.

The first US National Tour opened to critical acclaim in Spring 2014 in Chicago, grossing $20 million dollars during its standing room only 16-week run.

The London production opened in February 2016. It continues to play to standing ovations at the Shaftesbury Theatre, where it is half way through its third year and is booking until April 2019. Motown the Musical is produced in the UK by Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris, Adam Spiegel and Berry Gordy.

Gordy is the founder of Motown, the enterprise that nurtured the careers of, amongst others, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5.

Gordy is also a songwriter, producer, director, boxer, innovative entrepreneur, teacher and visionary.

Actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, he also released the recorded speeches of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

His films include Mahogany and Lady Sings the Blues, which received five Academy Award nominations.

He 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’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture is chronicled in his autobiography, To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown.

Motown the Musical is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday, December 8. For tickets, go online to ATG Tickets