If you’re not tempted to see “Ain’t too Proud”, the story of the Temptations, you should be. The show runs through March 27th here in Cincinnati. Some moments felt like I was attending an actual Temptations concert. Others, I was taken to church. From the more innocent Doo-Wop tunes to the edgier soul and R&B songs, every single moment on stage is musically magical.
As a literature teacher, I’m in love with the way songs weave in and out of the story of the Temptations (and all their iterations leading up to that name). Otis Williams, the leader, original founder, last member, and heart of the group walks us through this story of musical harmonies, troubled pasts, and the quick rise to fame. Even though I had a mask and no one could see it, I smiled the entire freaking time— at least through the first half.
We all know a second act brings conflict, climax, and eventually a resolution. Just not always the one we had hoped for. Troubled relationships. Egos exploding. The price of fame. All while growing unrest on the home front includes riots, civil unrest, and the Vietnam War. In an attempt to be the first big Motown crossover group, the Temptations, those layers of harmonies, never quit singing even though their attitudes toward those layers of unrest weren’t always in perfect harmony.
But back to those voices. Those moves. Being, for a couple of hours, in the heart of the Motown family, is something special. So go. Definitely go! But just be prepared. If Act 1 is a feel-good, get your groove on, sing-a-long, Act 2 is a heartbreaking, sobering, slowed-down review of history and the destructive power of fame— even among brothers. As the musical imparts, “The only thing you can rewind is a song!”
What is absolutely consistent throughout the entire tenure of the show, is the smoothest, slickest, grooviest dance moves you will ever see. Unparalleled. And those voices BLEW. ME. AWAY.
P.S.- THE choreographer is a Trujillo. No relation that I know of— claiming him anyway.
GO THERE (Aronoff)! TRY THAT (seeing “Ain’t too Proud” and other shows)!