The Temptations musical, said Detroit-born playwright Dominique Morisseau, is not simply one of the most legendary bands in R&B and popular music.
It’s also “a tribute to this city,” she said.
“Detroit particularly feels ownership of the Temptations”, said Morisseauwhich landed a Tony nomination for its screenplay Tempts.
So “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” which makes its long-awaited Motor City debut this week at the Detroit Opera House, is more than just a Broadway tour of town.
announced at great marching band Over 2.5 years ago, “Ain’t Too Proud” will run from Tuesday through August 28. The musical was originally slated for summer 2020 at the Fisher Theater before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted plans.
Based on the 1988 memoir of Otis Williams, the show depicts the rise of the iconic Motown band, with Williams, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin and Paul Williams going from Detroit unknowns to global stars – singing, costumes, stylish moves.
“Ain’t Too Proud” was one of the most successful and well-received jukebox musicals to play on Broadway in recent years, grossing $84 million and racking up 11 Tony nominations, including one for the best choreography. Morisseau, a graduate of the University of Michigan, previously known for her three-piece cycle “The Detroit Project”, earned a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical.
Broadway’s “Ain’t Too Proud” tour wrapped in January, a month after the show’s touring company hit the road in late 2021 in North Carolina.
The tour was supposed to kick off at the Fisher in July 2020 — a big and fitting kick off for the Temptations in Detroit — but the room’s routing was revised following the pandemic shutdown.
The Detroit Opera’s upcoming three-week run will feature local festivities, including a red carpet Wednesday with Otis Williams and other VIPs.
Attendees of “Ain’t Too Proud” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be greeted by bands and choirs as part of a Motor City Nightseries at Madison Street.
And for budding performing artists, there’s a stroke of luck: The tour is holding an open casting call Wednesday at the Motown Museum, looking for “self-identifying black male and female actors/singers/dancers” in their 20s. and thirties. Potential roles include the Five Temptations, as well as the characters of Diana Ross, Berry Gordy and others.
Auditees can provide sheet music accompaniment or an instrumental track, or they can sing solo. Registration will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Motown Museum, 2648 W. Grand Blvd.
The Detroit premiere of “Ain’t Too Proud” takes place in the middle of a Temptations 60th Anniversary Campaign who included a new album (“Temptations 60”) and a change in band lineup, with Detroit-born Jawan Jackson – who played Melvin Franklin in the Broadway musical – officially join the real Tempts.
The musical arc at the Opera also arrives as part of the 60th anniversary season of the series Broadway in Detroit.
“Ain’t It Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations”
Tuesday-August 28 (including weekend matinee shows)
1526 Broadway, Detroit
$35 and up
ticketmaster.com or the box office