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The cast of Motown The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

The cast of Motown The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Motown The Musical: All You Need To Know

Carly-Ann Clements

By Carly-Ann Clements First Published 9 May 2018, Last Updated 23 November 2018

We’ve heard it through the grapevine that you’re yet to see Motown The Musical. What’s going on? Don’t you think it’s time you saw the jukebox musical that’s been taking the West End by storm for two years? Packed with smash hit numbers and incredible talent, we think it’s about time you got yourself down to Shaftesbury Theatre. But before you do, here’s everything you need to know about it.

The backstory

The musical is based on Berry Gordy’s 1994 autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories Of Motown. In 2011, Berry announced he was working on a Broadway musical based on the book and his experiences creating and building Motown Records. Though he did have a great story to tell, he also wanted to set the record straight about the demise of the infamous record label.

The resulting show opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in March 2013 and earned four Tony Award nominations. After almost two successful years, it closed in January 2015. The following year, it opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, where it’s played ever since.

What’s Motown The Musical about?

The story of Motown The Musical spans the lifetime of the legendary record label, Motown Records. From the conception in 1963 to the 25th-anniversary celebration which was televised. See how Berry took his passion for music and built one of the biggest musical empires of the 20th century. Watch him break barriers and beat the odds to make history and define the sound of a generation. 

What age is Motown appropriate for?

Motown The Musical is recommended for audiences aged 7 and over.

How long is Motown The Musical?

Motown The Musical is 2 hours and 40 minutes including one interval. Performances are normally at 7.30pm Monday to Saturday, with matinee performances at 2.30pm on Thursday and Saturday.

Where is it playing in London?

The show is currently playing at Shaftesbury Theatre. The nearest stations to the show are Tottenham Court Road (350m), Covent Garden (450m) or Holborn (500m). You can also get to the Shaftesbury Theatre via overground train to London Charing Cross (1km).

Will the show be touring?

It will be! From October this year, it will be touring the UK for the grand total of six months. It’ll have stops in Ireland, Wales and Scotland, plus several British cities. If you can’t wait that long, you’ll have to come to the West End to see it.

The cast of Motown The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Who’s in Motown’s London cast?

35 performers take to the stage every single night. Many perform as multiple characters including the three young performers who appear as Young Berry, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.

Berry Gordy is played by Jay Perry. You may recognise Jay from his former TV and pop star days. He was a member of S Club Juniors AKA S Club 8. You may also know him from his turn in Beautiful The Carole King musical.

Diana Ross is played by Natalie Kassanga. Natalie was an X Factor finalist as part of girl group Alien Uncovered in 2015. She also played Nala in Disney’s The Lion King.

Smokey Robinson is played by David Albury. David’s theatre credits include Committee…, The Life and Exposure: The Musical.

Marvin Gaye is played by Carl Spencer. Carl’s theatre credits include The Scottsboro Boys, Hairspray and Fame.

Young Berry/Stevie/Michael are played by Nana Agyemanbediako, Tumo Reetsang, and Cruz Lee-Ojo.

What songs are in Motown The Musical?

Name your favourite songs from the 60s and 70s. Yup, they’re probably in this. There are over 40 classic songs in the show, from artists such as Jackson 5, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and more. Here are some to get you in the mood:

ABC – Jackson 5

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross

Dancing In The Street – Martha & The Vandellas

Happy Birthday – Stevie Wonder

I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye

Got A Job – The Miracles

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Teena Marie

My Guy – Mary Wells

Please Mr Postman – The Marvelettes

Super Freak – Rick James

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops

Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong

Reet Petit – Jackie Wilson

War – Edward Starr

Who’s Loving You – The Miracles

The cast of Motown The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

Will I like it?

It’s so much fun. If you love Motown music, this show is an absolute must. The hits come quick and fast in a back-to-back bonanza of classics that will envelop you in a wave of nostalgia while making you wish you could get up on stage yourself. The energy in the room is electric and you’ll walk out of the theatre on an absolute high. It’s the ideal show for a hen do, birthday or celebration, too.

Where can I buy tickets?

Right here with us! Just visit Official London Theatre’s Motown The Musical page to find the best available tickets for great prices.

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