Last night (Jan.25) I attended the opening night of “Ain’t Too Proud…The Life and times of The Temptations” at the Dr. Phillips Center, and it was a phenomenal show!
As the title alludes, the Broadway hit is a musical story of The Temptations, a group of men from Detroit who hit the top of the charts in the 60s and 70s and became the greatest R&B group of all time.
Set to the beat of the group’s many hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” the show tells the unforgettable story of their rise to fame from their beginnings through their passings.
The story is told from the viewpoint of group member Otis Wilson, who was a core member of The Temptations from its inception until he passed, and centers on him and the other founding members of the group: David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, and Paul Williams. Towards the end, we meet other core group members who joined after others had left the group.
The bulk of the show takes place during their prolific days at Motown records, and is a fascinating look at what the group went through to rise to the top, from Smokey Robinson writing their early hits to playing with the Supremes to their fracturing due to drug and alcohol abuse.
In fact, “Ain’t Too Proud” doesn’t shy away from showing both the good and the bad of their career, including reminding the audience the group was successful despite existing during the racially segregated 1960s, where the group wasn’t even allowed to perform in some areas of the country because they were black.
Set to the songs the group made famous, “Ain’t Too Proud,” is heartwarming, funny, bittersweet, and engaging.
It features an amazing cast of performers, who are not only good actors, but also great vocalists. There wasn’t a bad voice among them, but I do have to give nods to Elijah Ahmad Lewis as David Ruffin, Brett Michael Lockley as Al (and also Norman Whitfield), and Deri’Andra Tucker as Diana Ross for vocals that made me sit up and take notice…a feat even more remarkable by the talent of the rest of the talented cast.
I laughed, I grooved, and I left the theater with a whole new respect for the legendary group. Kudos to all involved, it’s a great show!
“Ain’t Too Proud” will be at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando until January 30, 2022. Tickets are still available at DrPhillipsCenter.org and the venue box office.
[Photos: courtesy Dr. Phillips Center/photographer Matthew Murphy]
Disclaimer: CSO was provided tickets for purpose of a review. As always my opinion is my own, and honest.
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