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Saturday, 19 November 2016 17:48

Song & Script Scoop

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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Jersey Boys Creators Reunite

for Temptations Musical

By Dennis Kucherawy

Oooh… baby, baby!

Two of Canada’s most successful theatrical talents have reunited to workshop a new musical about the journey to success of Smokey Robinson and Motown’s super group The Temptations.

Called “The Detroit Workshop,” Olivier Award-winners director Des McAnuff, former Stratford Festival artistic director, and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, both former Toronto talents and key members of the “Jersey Boys” creative team, have posted a casting call for performers to play The Tempations’ five original members:  Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams.

They are also looking for someone to play Smokey Robinson, the legendary crooner of such songs as “Tears of a Clown,” “Cruisin’,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me,” “Tracks of My Tears” and “Shop Around.”  The Temptations’ hits include “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and “Get Ready.”

Other roles to be cast include Dennis Edwards, the Supremes’ Mary Wilson, Richard Street and Tammi Terrell.  The Berkley Repertory Company will produce the project.

Unlike the recent “Motown – The Musical,” the show’s story will be told from the point of view of the singers/musicians, and not from Motown founder Berry Gordy.  The story is expected to focus on their heyday, rather than the final years in which their relationships were destroyed by infighting and the effect of drugs.

“The Detroit Workshop” follows the successful Donna Summer musical workshop McAnuff and Trujillo staged in New York City from June to August this year.  Now known as the “Untitled Donna Summer Project,” its world premiere will take place in California next year as part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2017-18 season that also will include “Escape to Margaritaville” that will feature Jimmy Buffett’s songs.”

“The Detroit Workshop” follows the successful Donna Summer musical workshop McAnuff and Trujillo staged in New York City from June to August this year.  Now known as the “Untitled Donna Summer Project,” its world premiere will take place in California next year as part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2017-18 season that also will include “Escape to Margaritaville” that will feature Jimmy Buffett’s songs.”

The pre-Broadway engagement begins in May 2017 followed by a run in Chicago in November.

Described as a musical extravaganza, the “Untitled Donna Summer Project” will feature more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits and dances described by the Playhouse as “electric.”

To date, McAnuff and Trujillo’s most successful partnership is “Jersey Boys,” the international smash hit musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  To date domestically, it has earned more than $47 million.

About Des McAnuff:

Born in Princeton, Illinois and raised primarily in Scarborough, McAnuff has won two Best Director Tony Awards – “Big River” (1985) and “The Who’s Tommy” (1993).  Although he did not win that category for “Jersey Boys,” the show won “Best Musical” (2005).

About Sergio Trujillo:

He was born in Colombia and raised in Toronto.  In 2011, he had the distinction of having four shows on Broadway simultaneously:  “Memphis,” “Jersey Boys,” “The Addams Family” and “Next to Normal.”

His work can now be seen on Broadway in “On Your Feet:  The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Musical.”

Both Sergio Trujillo and Des McAnuff are recipients of London’s prestigious Olivier Award – the former for Best Theatrical Choreography for “Memphis” and the latter for Best Director of “The Who’s Tommy” (1996).

Visit Song and Script for songbooks and CDs of both Smokey Robinson and The Temptations as well as the CD and DVD of the movie “Jersey Boys” and the CD of the original Broadway cast.

By Dennis Kucherawy

Last modified on Saturday, 19 November 2016 17:54
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