DETROIT -- Berry Gordy Jr. sat with some of the people whose careers he created at Motown on Wednesday night, April 19, at the Fisher Theatre.
But he couldn’t resist joining the people who played them on stage at the end of “Motown The Musical.”
“I am actually humbled very time I come back here,” the 87-year-old Gordy told the Fisher crowd, flanked by cast members including Chester Gregory, who portrays him in the current touring company, and Allison Seemes, who plays Diana Ross. “I had a life where it all started in Detroit; If it hadn’t been for Detroit, I wouldn’t have been brought up.
“I was right when I said Detroit is more of a town. It’s full of love and it’s always been full of love and there’s nothing that we cannot do if we put our minds to it. Detroiters are the best people in the world.”
Gordy, who founded the Motown empire during 1958 with an $800 loan from his family, was in town not only to attend the musical but also to watch local auditions that were held on Tuesday, April 18, and to be part of a fundraising afterglow for the Motown Museum. The musical, based on his 1994 memoir “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown,” “Motown The Musical,” is making its second visit to its spiritual home after opening on Broaday during the spring of 2013.
Gordy sat in the Fisher seats on Wednesday night near Martha Reeves, the Four Tops’ Duke Fakir, Paul Riser and other Motown alumni.
Kevin McCollum, who co-produced the musical with Gordy and Doug Morris, reminded the crowd that Motown “is not race music. It’s human race music. We’re going to keep telling that story for as long as we can.”
Gordy also thanked the audience for its support of Motown and the musical, as well as the Ford Motor Co. where he once worked -- and which has donated $6 million to expand and refurbish the museum.
“When I’m home here, I’m crazy,” said Gordy -- who even busted some dance moves during a curtain call rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke.” “I was crazy as a kid. I grew up and I’m back in Detroit and I’m still crazy. I lvoe you all, and thank you.”
“Motown The Musical” is at the Fisher through April 30. Tickets are $30-$132.
Call 313-872-1000 or visit broadwayindetroit.com.
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