Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations has now closed.
The Temptations are undoubtedly one of the greatest R&B groups of all time. With over 40 studio albums released and a list of accolades that includes the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Grammy Awards, these Motown pioneers can now also add “Broadway Musical” to their ever-impressive résumé.
Featuring a book by Obie Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations began its life at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California, staging its world premiere from August to November 2017. The musical played a twice-extended engagement and broke records as the highest-grossing production in the theatre’s history. The next stop saw Ain’t Too Proud delighting crowds in Washington, D.C., playing a limited run at the Kennedy Center from June to July 2018, before moving back to California and playing the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from August to September 2018. The production then headed north of the border and held its Canadian premiere at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre from October to November 2018.
During its Los Angeles run, producers officially announced the Broadway premiere which would begin previews at the Imperial Theatre on February 28, 2019, ahead of an official opening on March 21, 2019.
It isn’t the first time at the jukebox musical rodeo for director Des McAnuff, who previously helmed one of the highest-grossing jukebox musicals in history with Jersey Boys (and, more recently, was also at the helm of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), so, it’s safe to say that Ain’t Too Proud is in good hands. Time will tell if The Temptations generate the same kind of success that Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons did for so many years on the Great White Way, but they’ll certainly be on “Cloud Nine” if they do!
The reopening cast stars Nik Walker (as Otis Williams), James Harkness (as Paul Williams), Jawan M. Jackson (as Melvin Franklin), Jelani Remy (as Eddie Kendricks), and Matt Manuel (as David Ruffin).
Charting the highs and lows of one of the cornerstone acts of Motown Records – indeed, in 1969 The Temptations became the first Motown act ever to win a Grammy Award – Ain’t Too Proud tells the story behind the group’s meteoric rise from humble Detroit beginnings to global fame and also the personal conflicts within the group that jeopardized it all. The musical is, of course, brimming with their greatest hits that have transcended generations, from “Get Ready” to “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me),” from “You’re My Everything” to “My Girl,” and from “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” to “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
And if that short selection of hits from this crowd-pleasing jukebox musical isn’t enough to tempt you to spend an evening getting to know The Temptations, then we’re not sure what is.
(Photos by Matthew Murphy)