Motown The Musical Dazzles Eyes, Stirs Soul


Photo Broadway San Diego

With “Motown” in the title, you’d expect for this musical to knock your socks off with a song-list that would rival Dick Clark’s Top 40.

It does. It did.

As soon as the curtain rises, the energy starts and doesn’t quit!

In this first national tour of “Motown The Musical,” the story centers around the rise and slow demise of the famous record label and its founder: Berry Gordy. Though rags-to-riches story lines play out on many screens and stages today, the journey of Hitsville U.S.A. established in Detroit by a 29 year-old is nothing short of inspirational.

As the story unfolds, Gordy casually introduces us to his family and friends and some of the first people we meet are Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. No big deal. Slowly the list of talent that comes knocking at Motor Town’s door grows with unknown names with big dreams and even bigger voices: Diana Ross and The Supremes, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Temptations, Commodores, and so many more.

Just writing down these names makes me want to get up and dance!

The hits this record label produced are legendary, and they are part of our lives: “My Girl,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “ABC,” “Baby Love,” “I’ll Be there,” “My Guy,” “Happy Birthday,” “War,” and this list goes on and on.

Motown Collage

Motown slowly changed the white-only radio station practices of the time as Gordy convinced them to play his music.

Most black artists, I feel, were ignord because of segregation and the music industry’s blatant pigeon-holing of artists — Rhythm and Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Pop. When I started out, I wanted music for all people: the cops and robbers, the rich and the poor, the black and white, the Jews and the Gentiles. When I went to the white radio stations to get my records played, they would laugh at me. ~ Berry Gordy

Of course, he didn’t give up. How did he overcome those thick barriers that existed for black artists and their music? Gordy became the songwriter, publisher and producer. And established a record label where black artists could be creative.

And we’re all the better for it.

Just don’t call Berry Gordy’s music “Soul music.” In the words of this intrepid music mogul, “It’s Pop. Pop means popular.”

And it remains very popular today, Mr. Gordy.

“Motown The Musical” is playing in San Diego at the Civic Theater. Tickets, schedule, and more information can be found at

This play is not appropriate for young children.

Disclosure: I was given complimentary tickets to review this show.  I urge you to go see it before it leaves!





  1. Tori says:

    Sounds like an awesome show! I am in the Bay Area but maybe it will make it’s way up here one day 🙂

  2. Meagan says:

    Looks pretty neat! I wonder if it will make it to Houston? 😛

  3. oh! my husband would love this!

    • Suzette Valle says:

      Now that I’ve met your husband, I think he would! Small world, but my BFF’s son is at AI and knows exactly who he is, too 😉

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