Everyone will have their own favorites as they watch this show. The opening night house was wild about Reed L. Shannon as the young Michael Jackson. Julius Thomas III’s Gordy is a deft and vibrantly masculine turn that guides the musical with silky ease. But it’s Allison Semmes who brings an utterly divine yet down-to-earth view of Diana Ross that actually hits the heights.
Randolph-Wright has seamlessly and joyously steered this heavenly and rather large ensemble to flow scene to scene to scene, with numerous musical sections from hit Motown tunes, in a way that mesmerizes and uplifts almost constantly. You will seldom see so many smooth scene transitions.
Moreover, you will seldom see a production in which technological and technical elements so gorgeously blend with the human form. David Korins’s scenic design, Esosa’s costumes, Natasha Katz’s lighting, Daniel Brodie’s astonishing projections, all come together to amazing effect.
Ethan Popp and Bryan Cook’s orchestrations, Darryl Archibald’s music direction, Charles G. LaPointe’s wigs all culminate beautifully. That culmination reveals three very distinct phases of music and style from the late 1950s through the ’70s. It’s like a fun and emotional music education.
Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams’s choreography captures dance styles of the era as well. You will want to get up and dance!
Through Dec. 28