PHOTO CALL: Hundreds of Hopefuls Turn Out for Motown Open Call at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
By Matthew Blank
Producers of Motown the Musical launched a nationwide open casting call for African-American performers to join the Broadway and upcoming national tour of the musical, which traces the life of music mogul Berry Gordy, Sept. 13 in New York City.
The casting search, billed as "Makin' It Motown," began Sept. 13 (11 AM-2 PM) in New York City at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where the musical opened earlier this year. An additional call is planned for Sept. 14 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre (11 AM-2 PM), where the national tour of Motown will launch April 22-July 13, 2014.
Producers are seeking "African American men and women, ages 20s-40s, with exceptional voices. Also seeking an African American boy, age 8 to 13, to play young Michael Jackson/Berry Gordy/Stevie Wonder. No prior theatre experience is necessary," according to a casting notice.
Charles Randolph-Wright directs the musical, which is brimming with songs made famous by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and The Jackson Five. It has a book by Gordy. An original Broadway cast album is currently available.
The cast currently features Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple, The Scottsboro Boys) as Berry Gordy and Felicia Boswell (Memphis) as Diana Ross, with Raymond Luke Jr. and Darius Kaleb sharing the roles of young Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Berry Gordy, with Bryan Terrell Clark as Marvin Gaye and Charl Brown (Jersey Boys, Sister Act) as Smokey Robinson.
Completing the cast are Morgan James (Godspell), Saycon Sengbloh (Fela, Hair), John Jellison (Memphis) and N'Kenge (Sondheim on Sondheim), as well as Timothy J. Alex, Michael Arnold, Nicholas Christopher, Rebecca E. Covington, Ariana DeBose, Andrea Dora, Preston W. Dugger III, Wilkie Ferguson, Dionne Figgins, Marva Hicks, Tiffany Janene Howard, Sasha Hutchings, Jawan M. Jackson, Lauren Lim Jackson, Crystal Joy, Jamie LaVerdiere, Grasan Kingsberry, Marielys Molina, Sydney Morton, Maurice Murphy, Jarran Muse, Jesse Nager, Milton Craig Nealy, Dominic Nolfi, Ryan Shaw, Jamal Story, Eric LaJuan Summers, Ephraim Sykes, Julius Thomas III, Daniel J. Watts and Donald Webber, Jr.
According to producers, "Motown tells the gripping story behind the hits as Smokey finds his unique voice, Diana skyrockets to stardom and Berry fights against the odds to turn his improbable dream into a triumphant reality. The music that shattered barriers and shaped our lives finally comes to the Broadway stage in the season's most highly anticipated world-premiere event."
Motown has scenic design by David Korins, costume design by ESosa, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Peter Hylenski, projection design by Daniel Brodie, and choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Blues in the Night) and Warren Adams ("Toy Story"). Motown features arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp, with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Crook, dance arrangements by Zane Mark and music direction by Joseph Joubert.
Gordy produces the musical along with Tony winner Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q) and Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.
For tickets visit Ticketmaster.com.
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