"Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations" won't open in the famed Motown group's home town of Detroit until late July, but some theater goers got a sneak peek at the Tony Award-winning production on Monday, July 24.
Otis Williams, the sole surviving founding Temptation, joined the musical's writer and Detroit native Dominique Morisseau at a special invitation-only reception for Broadway in Detroit subscribers, sponsors and other guests at the Roostertail, site of many a Motown party during the 60s. The two were joined by the five Temptations from "Ain't Too Proud's" current Broadway cast, who performed the group's first hit, "The Way You Do the Things You Do," as well as "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" before Williams and Morisseau sat for a short Q&A.
"For me it's always great coming home to Detroit, 'cause I still have family members here," said Williams (nee Miles), 78, whose 1988 memoir "Temptations" was the source material for the book, as well as the NBC miniseries "the Temptations" in 1998. Prior to the event, Williams noted that "it means a lot" to be bringing "Ain't Too Proud" to Motown and anticipates adding a bit to the city's perspective on one of its most impactful musical groups.
"I always say this; Detroit thought they knew the Tempts, but once they see this, they'll be like, 'Whoa, we didn't know the Tempts like we thought,'" Williams explained. "Dominique did a beautiful job of writing our rich history and brought it to life and (it) will touch the human emotion. It touched mine. I've gotten calls saying, 'Man, I didn't know you went all through that," including extreme racism during trips to the South and Civil Rights struggles during the 60s.
During Monday's visit Williams, Morisseau and the cast members also toured the city, including a visit to the Motown Museum. "To be here with Otis -- this is our first time in Detroit together," said Morisseau, 41, an award-winning playwright who graduated from Cass Tech High School and University of Michigan. "So that's special for me after hearing all of his amazing story to now be walking these streets with him. I have my own memories, of course, but being back here with him is truly significant. It has a different resonance."
"Ain't Too Proud" is slated to open Broadway in Detroit's 2020-21 season on July 29 at the Detroit Opera House, according to the musical's social media, and run through Aug. 8. It will be the national tour's second stop after opening in Providence, R.I. on July 18.
The musical is currently on sale for renewing and new subscribers at 313-872-1000 or via BroadwayinDetroit.com. A public on sale date is expected to be announced soon.
"Ain't Too Proud," directed by Des McAnuff, opening Aug. 31, 2017 in Berkeley, Calif., and was staged in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Toronto before opening on Broadway a year ago. Playing to great critical acclaim, it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won the Best Choreography prize for Sergio Trujillo.
During Monday's event Williams also revealed that he's recorded an introduction for an audio version of his memoir, an updated edition that will be released on March 24.
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