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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations Broadway Musical Playing at The Hippodrome Through May 8

Last year, Dr. Otis Williams, a founding member of the legendary musical group The Temptations and the sole surviving member of the original Temptations was interviewed by The Baltimore Times. During the interview, he shared his thoughts about a celebration marking the 60-year history of The Temptations. 

   “Well, first and foremost, I thank God for letting me get to be 79 to turn 80 because when I stop and think about it, and I don’t mean to put it on the dark side, but I’m the only Temptation that has made it to this milestone of turning 80,” said the legendary artist. “I lost my wonderful friends David, Paul, Melvin, and Eddie and here I am still carrying the banner those brothers helped me to do create. It’s an honor to still do it, do it on such a high level, and keep the standard of  the Temptations hopefully up to where our fans have come to always want to see.” 

   Motown auditioned and signed the original Temptations – Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, and David Ruffin in May of 1961. 

   During his interview with this publication, Williams also shared his excitement about the re-opening of the Broadway musical, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, based on his personal journey. Now, audiences all over the country are sharing in that excitement as the musical makes its way across America. The hit Broadway show sang and danced its way into The Hippodrome this week. “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations,” opened May 3, 2022 and will run through May 8, 2022. 

Courtesy Photo 
Photo Sub Urban Photography
Ain’t Too Proud To Beg Photo 3:
The show features several of The Temptations’ hit songs and signature dance moves. 

   The show follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their signature dance moves and silky-smooth harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one.

   Nominated for 12 Tony® Awards and the winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography, “Ain’t Too Proud” tells the thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal, as the group’s personal and political conflicts threatened to tear them apart during a decade of civil unrest in America. The unforgettable story of this legendary quintet is set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”.

   Marcus Paul James narrates the production, portraying Otis Williams. 

Courtesy Photo 
Photo Sub Urban Photography
Ain’t Too Proud To Beg Photo 2:
Marcus Paul James narrates the production, portraying Otis Williams. 

   “As the narrator in the show, I guide us through a little history of The Temptations,” said James. “It’s all about the creation and celebration of The Temptations, and I bring us through the timeline of the story. It’s been really wonderful. Motown music is in the fabric of American history. To have the opportunity to perform this music and celebrate the men that did it and tell their stories is unreal.”

   James talked about Dr. Williams, whom he said the cast refers to as “Uncle O.”

   “He’s been a part of our process since the beginning,” said James.  “About two weeks ago, he called me to check-in on how we’re doing. He’s always checking in on us.”

   The show is written by three-time Obie Award winner Dominique Morisseau. 

   “The tour has been incredible,” said James. “I think people know that they love this music. But when it starts to play, I think it surprises them how much they enjoy it, love it, and remember it.”

   He added, “We get to be on that journey with them. We take them back to a time when we didn’t have Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and they learn about what happened behind the scenes, and how The Temptations got from point a to point b. We get to relive and tell the story of The Temptations. Some stories people may know about, and others people don’t know about.”
  James said he was a part of the original Broadcast cast as a swing.

   “When they offered me the opportunity to play this role and tour around the country, I did not hesitate. Playing the narrator is a big role, and its big shoes to fill, but how could I not tell this story? Especially during this time when telling stories is super critical. One of the biggest personal takeaways from this show for me is that in America at that time, so much was happening including a war and segregation. But at the same time, Motown was creating this amazing sound and having so much success.”

   He added, “When people come to see this show, they should be ready to clap their hands, sing along, and maybe get up and dance a step if they need to. That’s what we love to do, and we will meet you right there.”

   For performance times, tickets and other information, visit https://baltimore.broadway.com.

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