"MOTOWN, THE MUSICAL" is Coming to the Hippodrome
Cast of ‘Hit’ Production includes Baltimore native Isaac Saunders
Ursula V. Battle | 4/6/2018, 6 a.m.
Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” MOTOWN THE MUSICAL sings its way to Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre Friday, April 13, 2018 through Sunday, April 15, 2018. The limited five-show engagement is back by popular demand, and is part of the 2017/2018 CareFirst® BlueCross BlueShield Hippodrome Broadway Series.
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.
The highly-acclaimed production tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America.
The production includes Baltimore natives Brett Michael Lockley and Isaac Saunders, Jr.
“Motown The Musical is a gift to the world,” said Saunders, who is a graduate of Lansdowne High School. “The show brings a sense of unity and family. You forget all about the problems in the world, because the show links you back to these moments in music.”
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL was originally produced by Tony Award® winning producer Kevin McCollum, Chairman and CEO of SONY Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Berry Gordy, in association with Work Light Productions.
“The reaction of the audience to this show is wonderful,” said Saunders. “Some songs they have heard, and some they have not heard. Sometimes, you hear the audience smile because they are going back into time and reliving that moment. It is a joy to do this show. Mr. Gordy has consistently come in, and said that he wanted us to stay true to Motown. We study, work hard, and have wonderful creative members to help us to embody the characters.”
Saunders added, “It's is true gift to see Mr. Gordy’s face. He has come to see the show several times, and always finds a new way to show it to the audience. Having his creative genius is mind- blowing, and it’s a blessing to be a part of this legacy.”
The hit production features staging by Schele Williams, choreography re-created by Brian Harlan Brooks, original choreography by Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams, scenic design by David Korins, and costume design by Tony Award® nominee Emilio Sosa.
Saunders is a “swing” performer in the musical.
“A swing is a standby,” said Saunders. “As a swing, I step into a role when an ensemble cast member goes out. We also cover principles. We don’t go up every night, but we still show up because it is still our job. We fill in the blank in case something is missing. Whenever an actor has to step out, we step into that part.”
Saunders, 21, talked about how he landed a part with MOTOWN THE MUSICAL.
“I auditioned for the show in late June 2017, and within hours I was booked for the show,” he said. “I grew up in Baltimore City, and sang in the church. As I got older, I wanted to get more involved in singing and acting. I also took dance classes my last year in high school. I wanted to get involved myself in all three - singing, acting and dancing.”
MOTOWN THE MUSICAL’s arrangements and orchestrations are by Grammy and Tony Award® nominee Ethan Popp.
“I hope everyone can come out and see this show,” said Saunders. “We have been on tour since October of 2017, and audiences love it. The audiences are diverse, and range from young to old. It’s important that the young generation know this music because it will be around forever.”
Performance times are Friday, April 13, 2018 (8:00 p.m.); Saturday, April 14, 2018 (2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.); and Sunday, April 15, 2018: 1:00 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. The Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center is located at 12 N Eutaw Street in Baltimore. For more information visit BaltimoreHippodrome.com, or call (866) 870-2717