Friday, May 10, 2013

No excuse necessary... (Like Allen ever needed one in the first place!)

Submitted by Al Kanovsky 5/10/13

If you ever needed to come to the Apple. Now would be a good time. The temps in Florida are heating up and the clouds are dark grey. If you need a better excuse, I'll give you one. Broadway, and a musical titled "Motown". I am in no way, manner, shape or form, a theater critic. I've seen everything produced there from Oklahoma to Carousel, from Hello Dolly to My Fair Lady, Man of La Mancha, West Side Story, Les Mis and Phantom. Last night I saw the best one ever. Starting with the scenic design, the sound, lighting, costumes, the cast and the music, all of them would be classed as The Best. The story is about Berry Gordon the founder of Motown Records. It not only tells the story of Rock 'n Roll it is the history of the struggle of Black Americans during that time. It starts with Joe Louis's KO of Max Schmeling and continues through the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. Motown developed artists that  included Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, the Temptations and the Four Tops amongst others. All were portrayed beautifully and truly by the cast. The 57 musical numbers included "Do You Love Me", "I'll Be There", "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and all the songs you did the 'twist' the monkey' and the 'swim' to. As I've said, I have seen lots of Broadway productions. I have never seen or heard an audience tap and clap along as they did during this performance. As I am wont to say "It's the music". I accompanied the Stocker family, Mike Susan and their daughter Mimi. Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Dorsey(Musical Director of Dillard School of the Arts) were there as well, and seated right behind me was the championship band from Dillard. We were all thrilled by the performance. I would have liked to name all the people involved in this wonderful musical but there are 35 cast members alone. It seemed that it was a "cast of thousands" during some of the production numbers. Suffice it to say that everyone from stars to grips, electricians to the band in the pit did an outstanding job. I forgot to mention that on my way to the theater I stopped for a cup of coffee. A young man entered the small café, carrying a somewhat battered trombone case. I addressed the musician, asking if he was a JAZZ musician. He replied in the affirmative but added that he worked as a pit musician so that he could keep himself from starving to death. His name is Jason Jackson. He and his wife Rosena(vocals) work the local clubs. Hope I can hear them at some time in the future. On the way back to my daughter and son-in-laws home, Missy and Michael, (M&M) I paid homage to a favorite of mine "Papaya King", 86th and thoid. Had a hot dog and coconut "champagne". My head, heart and stomach satisfied I headed home.

The Essentially Ellington competition has its opening program today starting with a "One on One" Q&A session with Wynton Marsalis-------I can't wait.

Al's Disclaimer:
A short note: The reason I write this is because I love music and words. I do not book acts. I do not promote acts. I do not accept invitations to review artists. I go to venues of my own choice. When and where is not influenced by anything other than who I would like to hear that night or day. If I don't like what I hear, I won't write about it. When I like it I let you all know. I never mention a name without asking permission. "Pardon me, Miss. Would you like to dance?"       

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