MOTOWN THE MUSICAL Press Launch At The Hard Rock Cafe Chicago
Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce that MOTOWN THE MUSICAL has chosen Chicago as the first stop on its national tour. The hit Broadway musical features music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy. Crowned the biggest box office hit of the season by the New York Times, MOTOWN will launch its national tour at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 West Randolph) from April 22 to July 13, 2014. Since it began performances on Broadway in April 2013, the show has sold every single ticket available and grossed over one million dollars every week.
“It’s an honor to launch the tour of MOTOWN THE MUSICAL in Chicago – I attended Deerfield High School, and it’s where I developed my love for Broadway!” says Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. “Chicagoans have always had a deep appreciation for great music, great theatre, and great history, which makes it the perfect place to be the first city outside of NY to host Berry Gordy’s incredible story and the legendary Motown catalog. It is a credit to the State Legislature’s support of theatre for the Illinois Live Theatre Production Tax Credit, which made MOTOWN launching in Chicago possible.”
Producer Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment, said “Berry Gordy is a true American pioneer, and this is a wonderful opportunity for Chicago audiences to be the first city to experience the Motown phenomenon through the eyes of the man who lived it, and to hear some of the greatest pop songs of all time, before the musical travels across the country.”
MOTOWN will be featured on the CBS Tony Awards telecast airing live from Radio City Music Hall at 7:00 PM CDT on Sunday, June 9.
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, MOTOWN is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. The show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy‘s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more.
MOTOWN tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. The music that shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat has finally arrived on Broadway and will launch its national tour in Chicago.
MOTOWN’s creative team features choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Blues in the Night) and Warren Adams (Toy Story), scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Tony Award® nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, “Project Runway”), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz (Once, Sister Act), sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (Rock of Ages, The Scottsboro Boys), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Jekyll and Hyde), hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe (Memphis) and casting by Telsey + Company.
MOTOWN features arrangements and orchestrations by Tony Award® nominee Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who also serves as music supervisor in reproducing the classic “Sound of Young America,” with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Tony Award® nominee Bryan Crook (“Smash”) and dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).
MOTOWN is produced by Tony Award® winning producer Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q), Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is part of the Broadway In Chicago 2014 Spring Season. Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets for MOTOWN THE MUSICAL will go on sale at a later date. For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or www.MotownTheMusical.com/Chicago.
BERRY GORDY, JR. (Book)
Berry Gordy, Jr. is the founder of Motown, the hit-making enterprise that nurtured the careers of Diana Ross and The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, and many other music greats. The “Motown sound” reached out across a racially divided, politically and socially charged country to transform popular music. The year 2009 marked an international year-long celebration of Motown’s 50th Anniversary. Mr. Gordy is also a songwriter, boxer, producer, director, innovative entrepreneur, teacher and visionary. In the 1960’s, Gordy moved his artists into television, on shows like American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show. Actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, he also released the recorded speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His films include Lady Sings the Blues, which garnered five Academy Award nominations, and Mahogany. Gordy has received four honorary doctorates: one in philosophy from Occidental College; two in the humanities, from Morehouse College and Michigan State University; and one in music from Eastern Michigan University. Among the awards recognizing Gordy’s accomplishments are the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, the Gordon Grand Fellow from Yale University, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the Rainbow Coalition’s Man of the Millennium Award, the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award, and the Grammy Salute To Industry Icon’s President’s Merit Award. In February 2011, President Barack Obama honored him with a Salute to Motown evening at the White House. Berry 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.
CHARLES RANDOLPH-WRIGHT (Director)
Charles Randolph-Wright has a diversified career in directing, writing, and producing for theater, film, and television. Theater directing credits include the record-breaking musical Sophisticated Ladies (starring Maurice Hines) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined at Arena Stage, the 75th Anniversary international tour of Porgy and Bess, Brian Stokes Mitchell in Love/Life (Lincoln Center), Daniel Beaty’s Through the Night and Emergency, the national tour of Guys and Dolls, Blood Knot (featuring music by Tracy Chapman at ACT in San Francisco), The Diva is Dismissed (starring Jenifer Lewis) and They’re Playing Our Song (in Portuguese in Brazil). Charles wrote the plays Blue (starring Phylicia Rashad,
Diahann Carroll), The Night Is a Child (starring Jobeth Williams), Cuttin’ Up, and co-wrote Just Between Friends (starring Bea Arthur) on Broadway. He directed the award-winning film Preaching to the Choir, and has written screenplays for HBO, Showtime, Disney, and Fox. Television credits include directing “Lincoln Heights (ABC Family),” “South of Nowhere” (The N), Bebe Winans’ special “America America,” the “Freestyle” soccer campaign for Nike, and producing and writing the Showtime series “Linc’s.” Charles was chosen for a playwright residency in Arena Stages’ American Voices New Play Institute, and was the recipient of the Paul Robeson Award from Actors’ Equity. www.Randolph-wright.com
KEVIN MCCOLLUM (Producer)
received three Tony Awards for Best Musical for In the Heights (2008), Avenue Q (2004), and RENT (1996), which was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and made into a major motion picture. He also produced The Drowsy Chaperone (five 2006 Tony Awards), Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme (two 2002 Tony Awards), the revival of Ragtime (2009), West Side Story (2009), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (2011), [title of show] (2008), the debut stage production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and the Off- Broadway hit De La Guarda. McCollum also serves on the Board of Governors of the Broadway League as well as on the Labor Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Executive Committee, assisting in League negotiations with unions and theatre owners. McCollum was trained at the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music and earned his Master’s degree in film producing from the Peter Stark Program at the University of Southern California. In 1995, he received the Robert Whitehead Award for Outstanding Commercial Theatre Producing. McCollum received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati, in 2005.
DOUG MORRIS (Producer)
is widely considered the most influential executive in the music industry. Currently Chief Executive Officer of Sony Music Entertainment, the world’s second largest music company, he has worked in many different capacities over his career with some of the most popular and influential artists of the past four decades, including The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Tori Amos, INXS, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and U2, among many others. He is on the board of The Rock–N–Roll Hall of Fame, and he has been recognized by numerous organizations for his outstanding contributions to the music community, including City of Hope, which presented him with its Spirit of Life award in 2008, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), which honored him with its President’s Merit Award in 2003, and its Icon award in 2009. He also has as a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is the founder of VEVO, the top music entertainment destination on the Web, and he previously spent 14 years as Worldwide Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, which was the world’s largest music company under his leadership. He began his career as a songwriter and producer, with credits including The Chiffons’ 1966 hit “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” and Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”