UTICA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Motown Records, also known as Hitsville U.S.A., is responsible for creating some of the biggest names in music and entertainment, like Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross.
The traveling musical “Motown” tells the story of the record label, and it’s now playing in Utica.
The musical follows legendary musical producer Berry Gordy from when he was 29-years-old, and spans 25 years of innovation, family atmosphere in the workplace, and pure magic coming through the speakers.
Chester Gregory plays Berry Gordy in the musical, and he says he did get to meet the real Gordy before he even knew he was going to audition for the musical.
“I want them to walk away with inspiration. Berry Gordy prior to Motown was known for being a failure and he just kept at it; with him it happened when he was 29, but it can still happen when you’re any age,” says Gregory. “No matter what age you are, no matter what you want to attain in life, know that it’s within reach, that you have the capability to do that. Your only limitation is in your own mind, and in your imagination.”
For the entire cast portraying real performers of nearly enigmatic status, the musical is a chance to show these people as real humans.
The show covers a broad swatch of tough history. You see race riots, President Kennedy’s assassination, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. But you also see Motown’s use of music to battle hate, and send positive messages to a tense public.
Allison Semmes, who plays Diana Ross in the show says the music of Motown is American music.
“You see black artists up there singing, but this isn’t just black music, it’s American music and that music brings us all together,” says Semmes. “So I hope that people can come and enjoy it, and enjoy this legacy of music and feel good, because at the end of the day we want people to feel good leaving the theater, ya know?
“Some see Motown the musical because you love this music, you love this timeless music, and why not come see how the legacy came to fruition,” says Gregory. “What happened was, well you gotta wait, or come see it.”
Motown’s last performance at the Stanley Theater in Utica is Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at: http://www.thestanley.org/events/view/265/motown