Berry Gordy-Inspired 'Motown' Musical to Launch on Broadway in 2013
A bio-show based on the life of the legendary music mogul, the production will feature hits from Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, among others.
NEW YORK -- The life of legendary Motor City music empire founder Berry Gordy will get stage treatment when Motown: The Musical opens on Broadway in spring 2013.
Producers Kevin McCollum, Sony Music Entertainment chairman and CEO Doug Morris and Gordy confirmed plans for the show Tuesday. Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and written by Gordy, it will feature songs from the Motown catalogue made famous by recording artists such as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five.
The production is scheduled to open on Broadway at a Nederlander theater to be announced, along with casting and additional creative team.
Motown will trace the story of Gordy from his beginnings as an ambitious young African-American songwriter in 1959, when he founded Tamla Records in Detroit with an $800 loan from his family. That company became the cornerstone of an influential music-industry force that crossed over to mainstream success at a time when segregation and racial tension still divided the country. Motown has generated more than 180 No. 1 hits worldwide.
"Broadway is the pinnacle of live theater and provides a challenging and exciting opportunity to tell my story and share the magic of Motown," said Gordy.
"Motown and Berry Gordy's influence on music and our culture is unparalleled," added McCollum, a producer of such shows as Rent, Avenue Q and In the Heights.
While Randolph-Wright has an extensive background as a writer and director for film, television and theater, Motown will be his first major Broadway production. He began his career as an actor and was part of the original Broadway ensemble of the 1981 hit Dreamgirls, a show which, despite assertions from its creators that it was purely fictional, contained close parallels to the story of Gordy and his supergroup The Supremes.
Several jukebox musicals have found success on Broadway, notably the ABBA anthology Mamma Mia!, the biomusical of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jersey Boys, and '80s glam-metal comedy Rock of Ages.
Also in preparation for next season and foregoing an original score in favor of popular songs is Bullets Over Broadway, Woody Allen's stage adaptation of his Oscar-winning movie, which will feature a string of tunes from the 1920s.