SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The songs definitely are familiar, but the story may or may not be. Motown The Musical opens in San Francisco at The Orpheum Theatre on August 15th.
The musical’s director and producer, Kevin McCullom recently spoke with KCBS and gave us an idea of what Bay Area audiences can expect when the show opens.
“It is in our cultural DNA. It is the most transformative group of songs this country has ever created,” McCullom explains as to why he chose to do a play about Motown.
The record-company’s catalog reads like a veritable who’s who of oldies, soul hits spanning decades, but really earning its nickname as the “Hit-Factory” during the 1960s and ‘70s.
Motown The Musical Director Charles Randolph-Wright agrees; adding that the music that Motown founder Berry Gordy and his stable of artists created helped pave the way for social change, as well.
“I grew up in the segregated south,” he said. “Motown is the music that brought us together. Motown is the music that we started dancing together and it caused us to communicate,” he said.
The Musical opened on Broadway last year, and McCullom says the story of Berry Gordy and what he accomplished is as compelling as the songs, themselves.
“Brian Epstein found The Beatles and he was considered a genius. This is a story about a man who found and promoted and discovered Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Four Tops, and The Temps. It just continues,” he said.
And what do the Motown stable of artists think of the show? McCullom says Ross, Robinson, and Mary Wilson have all come to the show numerous times, because once is “just being polite.”