Motown the Musical comes alive at Popejoy Hall

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bringing together a generation of music performed by dozens of acts — and all on one stage — may seem impossible. Motown The Musical has done just that and has brought it to the stage at Popejoy Hall through the weekend.

Motown The Musical tells the story of the legendary record label from Detroit, along with the background of its founder, Berry Gordy. The label was responsible for starting the careers of acts like The Temptations, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and many others.

“I think that shows the power of music, how it can be universal and uniting,” said actress Allison Semmes, who plays Diana Ross in the musical.

Throughout the two hour program, audiences can not only get a sense of what Gordy endured to establish the label, but how the artists created the unique sound that became synonymous with the name Motown.

“We see Berry Gordy, this ambitious 29-year-old man from Detroit who wants to make something of himself,” said Semmes. “He has a passion and we see him discover it and find it through all the different venues that he’s a part of and we also see this young, independent grow and compete with these big box, these big name companies and we see the challenges that an independent record label faces.”

Pulling off the show isn’t the easiest of tasks. The show travels with literally 26 closets worth of costumes, all for the numerous artists and their looks through the years.

“When you have that look on stage, it just brings the audience into the era more,” said Wardrobe Supervisor, Megan Quinn. “So for our 70’s you have your wide collars and for the 80’s you have your puffy shouldered dresses like this and all your beaded gowns, very loud costumes.”

For someone like Semmes who steps into the role of Diana Ross, she says the artists, the music and Berry Gordy combined at the right time for something that is still timeless to this day.

“I think that it’s necessary now to hear that story and just to provide some love and healing and just feeling good about you know, American life, you know, black and white through music,” added Semmes.

Motown The Musical will be playing at Popejoy Hall through the weekend with two performances on both Saturday and Sunday.

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