Broadway Reopening: AIN’T TOO PROUD — THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS (Imperial Theatre)

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by Tony Frankel on October 15, 2021

in Theater-New York

MAGIC IN THE MUSIC

Sometimes jukebox bio-musicals get so caught up in the fame and fortune of the journey that they miss the creative passion that is the true force driving most artists forward. Happily, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations — which returns to Broadway tomorrow, October 16, 2021 — puts the music front and center, and under Des McAnuff’s expert direction, the performers give themselves over fully to the experience. The magic of the music takes over. And seeing it in action is fantastic. The thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal is set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and many more.

Ephraim Sykes (kneeling) and the cast

Even better, Ain’t Too Proud announces its new General Rush and Digital Lottery policies. A $42 rush ticket policy will be sold in person at the Imperial Theatre box office on the day of the performance beginning when the box office opens (Monday – Saturday at 10:00 AM; Sunday at 12:00 PM). Two tickets per customer. Seat locations at the discretion of the box office.

The cast of Broadway's AIN'T TOO PROUD

The digital lottery offers $42 tickets as well. The lottery will open the day before the performance at 12:00 AM and close at 3:00 PM at Ain’t Too Proud Lottery (winners can purchase their tickets there as well); tickets can be picked up at the Imperial Theatre box office. Lottery winners must present their credit card to claim the tickets. (Tickets also available via Ain’t Too Proud MusicalTelecharge, and by calling 800 447 7400.)

Derrick Baskin, Jelani Remy, Jawan M. Jackson, Ephraim Sykes, and James Harkness

Dominique Morisseau’s book anchors the events within the larger struggle of the civil rights movement. I’m a huge fan of her work (Skeleton Crew), and she is largely able to make the political feel personal. She is on firm ground when exploring the racism the group routinely encounters on tour and their feelings about the reductive process of “crossing over.”

Derrick Baskin

Something very special emerges: In Detroit in the late ‘50s, under-aged Otis Williams gets in trouble, gets out of juvenile hall, and decides to turn his life around by forming a band. Motown is on the ascendancy and he wants in. Various interactions and plot twists take us to the Temptations. Some find love; some lose it; most develop bad habits as money, adulation, and various substances prove stronger than the music to varying degrees. The group of five men who feel like brothers splinters, leaving Otis feeling alone and bereft for the magic that once was — yet also full of love and earned pride at the miracle that was (and is) the Temptations.

Taylor Symone Jackson, Candice Marie Woods, and Nasia Thomas

Leading the cast of Ain’t Too Proud as The Temptations are Nik Walker as ‘Otis Williams,’ James Harkness as ‘Paul Williams,’ Jawan M. Jackson as ‘Melvin Franklin,’ Matt Manuel as ‘David Ruffin,’ and Jelani Remy as ‘Eddie Kendricks.’ The Broadway cast also features Esther AntoineSaint AubynE. Clayton CorneliousJ. DaughtryTiffany FrancésTaylor Symone JacksonJahi KearseDarius Jordan LeeJarvis B. Manning Jr.Morgan McGheeJoshua MorganAaron PattersonChristian Thompson, Sir Brock WarrenCorrey WestDrew Wildman FosterCurtis Wiley, and Candice Marie Woods.

Ephraim Sykes, Jawan M. Jackson, Jeremy Pope, Derrick Baskin, and James Harkness

photos of previous Broadway outing by Matthew Murphy

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