Judith Franklin as Martha Reeves (center) & Cast MOTOWN THE MUSICAL First National Tour (c) Joan Marcus, 2017
“Motown the Musical” has made its way to Motown as part of the plays’ 2017 national tour.
As part of the tours stop in Detroit, Motown founder Berry Gordy along with show creators came to the city and held auditions for new talent to join the tour in Studio A at the historic Motown Museum.
The play, based on Gordy’s memoir “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown,” gives audiences a glimpse of the lives of Motown artists from the perspective of Gordy who, of course, had a perspective like no other.
“Motown the Musical” goes knee-deep into the lives of legends like Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves among others.
Houston native Judith Franklin is one of the tours breakout stars. Franklin performs as part of the ensemble cast where she portrays Edna Anderson, Anna Gordy and living Motown legend Martha Reeves whom she said is an inspiration.
“It’s surreal. That’s one of the words that first comes to mind. It’s an honor and I’m just so grateful for this opportunity. This has been my dream and to actually portray a living legend, who would’ve ever though that I would ever have this opportunity? So, it’s magical,” said Franklin.
“I’ve actually had a lot of experience singing the Motown catalog, but I had to do research specifically on Martha Reeves and her journey and how she became a part of the Motown legacy and her start at Motown. Being in rehearsals and working with the creatives [directors, producers and etc.], some had the privilege of working around Mr. Gordy, they have a plethora of information.”
Franklin learned that she would be meeting Reeves for the first time on opening night and when asked how she felt, she admitted, she was a bit nervous.
“I’m really excited. I can’t lie. I’m a little nervous. This is a woman that has paved they way for performers like myself. I’m honored to be portraying her. I just hope I make her proud and she enjoys it. I’m also really interested in speaking with her and hearing more about her experiences from The Martha Reeves and what it was like to be a singer on the Motown roster.”
On opening night in Detroit the “Motown the Musical” cast didn’t disappoint. The audience that included Berry Gordy, Martha Reeves and Detroit’s who’s who watched in awe as their favorite Motown music and artists were brought to life.
“Motown the Musical” runs until April 30 at The Fisher Theater. Tickets for the play are $30-$132 and can be purchased from ticketmaster.com or by calling 313-872-1000.