Critics weigh in as 'Motown' arrives in London.
'Motown: The Musical'; written by and based on record label pioneer Berry Gordy; has finally hit London's West End, and, while it received several Tony Award nominations following its run on Broadway in 2013, the reception across the pond has been mixed to say the least.
Not everybody is happy with Berry Gordy's life story
While the cast members have been ultimately praised for their exceptional talent, the story has left much to be desired in the eyes of many UK critics. The Londonist criticized the lack of full song performances and the over-likability of the character of Berry Gordy, branding it as 'nothing short of self-penned hagiography'. The Guardian insists the musical 'leaves all the key questions unanswered' and the Independent agreed. 'A monstrous feat of ego, Gordy really should not have been allowed to tell his own story', they added.
Continue reading: 'Motown: The Musical' Hits The West End! But Not Everyone's A Fan
While the family of Whitney Houston chose not to attend the première of the late singer's biopic, the cast and various celebrities were seen in attendance.
It would probably be an understatement to say that Whitney Houston was a beloved musician. The singer, actress and model has been often hailed as the most awarded musician of all time, and whether you listen to her songs as part of the soundtrack for a critically-polarising movie or while dancing the year away on 31st December each year, Houston is still the only artist to have seven consecutive top charting singles.
In the upcoming Lifetime biopic, 'Whitney', the life of the performer and her relationship with husband Bobby Brown, is charted from the days of her humble church choir beginnings up until her tragic death from a combination of heart failure and drowning at the guest room of The Beverly Hilton. Coincidently, just a few blocks away from the site of her death stands The Paley Centre for Media - the site of the premiere for 'Whitney'.
Continue reading: The Stars Come Out At The Whitney Houston Biopic Première [Photos]
With Motown being revived in the form of a Broadway show, we explore the vibrant music scene of Detroit.
You might not want to see this to fulfill your musical posterity needs...
It was supposed to be rip-roaring musical journey through the history of Motown music. But, according to the critics, this musical is one step too far, and the overall consensus is that it’s rushed. Not surprising with 50 musical numbers from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
For The Hollywood Reporter, endless string of hits didn’t disguise the shortcomings of this musical. “You can’t hurry love,” goes their review, “but apparently you can hurtle through 25 years of pop history without depth or complexity if Motown: The Musical is any indication. With its narrowly self-serving perspective and simplistic connect-the-dots plotting, Berry Gordy’s book makes Jersey Boys look like Eugene O’Neill.” The New York Times are in agreement with their west coast contemporaries. “For all the richness of its gold-and-platinum-plated soundtrack, “Motown” would be a much more satisfying nostalgia trip if Mr. Gordy and his collaborators were more effective curators of both story and song, rather than trying to encompass the whole of the label’s fabled history in two and a half hours,” they say in negative review, to say the least.
Victor-Dixon and Berry Gordy at the Motown: The Musical Photocall
Continue reading: You Can't Hurry Love: 'Motown: The Musical' Reviews Roundup
Motown's chief songwriter Deke Richards has passed away following a battle with cancer.
Deke Richards, the lead writer for famed record label Motown who penned hit tracks for The Jackson 5 and Diana Ross, has died aged 68 following a battle with esophageal cancer. During his tenure with the label's songwriting and production team The Corporation, Richards (real name Dennis Lussier) wrote and produced the Jackson 5's first three No.1 singles, I Want You Back, ABC and The Love You Save.
He reportedly played in a backing band for Debbie Dean and met Barry Gordy when The Supremes played at the Hollywood Place in 1966. After impressing the Motown mogul, Richards was offered a contract as record producer and songwriter.
Working alongside Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell and Freddie Perren, Richards also provided Diana Ross & The Supremes with their pop hit 'Love Child' and wrote for Bobby Darin and Bonnie Bramlett. His final project was the mixing of eight unreleased tracks by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas for Universal Music Enterprises' three-CD box set '50th Anniversary: The Singles 1962-1972' which is slated for release on April 5.
Continue reading: Deke Richards, The Man Behind Motown's Biggest Hits, Dies Aged 68