Thursday, December 2, 2021

Cornelius Grant Review: ‘Motown the Musical’ at Pantages Theatre

Grant with Allison Semmes (Diana Ross)
Grant with Allison Semmes (Diana Ross)

Hollywood, CA – The wildly successful Broadway show, Motown The Musical, returned to Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre for a second run Jan. 31 through Feb. 12, 2017. This time around, it was buoyed by a new cast, dramatic new set designs and enhanced characters.  Dyed-in-the-wool Motown fans appeared to love the changes.

Chester Gregory (as Berry Gordy) and Allison Semmes (as Diana Ross) were generously applauded for their performances. David Kaverman (as Smokey Robinson) and Jarran Muse (as Marvin Gaye) impressed, but the audience favorite of the evening was young CJ Wright whose rendition of Michael Jackson garnered a rousing response. The crowd clearly gave witness to the Motown legacy that changed the way the world listened to music in the 60s.

Grant with C.J. Wright (Michael Jackson)
Grant with C.J. Wright (Michael Jackson)

The music of Motown naturally draws the legions of fans that first bought this music on those small 45s so long ago. It continues to be the highlight of the show and the orchestra conducted by Darryl Archibald lovingly delivered the sound created by the Detroit musicians during that era.

A song written by Berry Gordy and Michael Lovesmith for this production “Can I Close the Door” was a very fitting insert to the story that documented Gordy’s history in the building and creating the dream that was to become Motown.

Grant with Darryl Archibald
Grant with Darryl Archibald

Cornelius Grant is the former bandleader of The Temptations. He co-wrote “(I Know) I’m Losing You” (that’s him on the guitar intro);  “You’re My Everything” (intro); and many others.


Larry Buford
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, and author of Book/CD titled "Things Are Gettin' Outta Hand" (Steuben Pub.) He writes Human Interest articles and entertainment reviews for various newspapers across the country. He is also an editor, and provides services for press releases, interviews, business letters, resumes, etc. A native Detroiter, he is a former Motown songwriter.




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