There have been rumours circulating since last year that Broadway smash hit, Motown: The Musical, might soon be arriving in the West End. Initially, there was speculation that the show would replace We Will Rock You this summer at the Dominion Theatre. Well, it turns out that bit was wrong - but the rest is spot on, as it has been announced today that Motown: The Musical will be coming to London's Shaftesbury Theatre in February 2016.
Motown: The Musical is the latest jukebox musical, and they don’t come much bigger than this. If you thought the 40-odd hits squeezed into Let It Be was impressive, think again; Motown features more than 50 classic songs from the likes of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, among many others. Based on the true story of Berry Gordy, the show reveals how this young man from Detroit came to create one of the most influential music labels in the world and discovered countless future legends - then it brings those legends together for the ultimate celebration.
The show has already proved a hit on Broadway, opening in 2013 with the brilliant Brandon Victor Dixon - who went on to earn an Olivier nomination for his role in the West End production of The Scottsboro Boys - playing Gordy. (I'm secretly hoping he might reprise his role over here...) After winning four Tony awards, Motown embarked on a national tour last year, and is set to return to Broadway this July. And now we can join in the fun here in London.
Motown will be replacing the outgoing Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre in February next year - and, like Memphis, looks set to have audiences on their feet every night. In fact, with so many songs to get through, including hits like ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, ‘ABC’ and ‘Dancing In The Street’, I can’t imagine there’ll be much opportunity to sit down. It also doesn’t seem like there’ll be a lot of time for storytelling - but then again, when the whole point of the story is the music, what better way to tell it than to let the tunes speak for themselves?