Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson hit the red carpet to celebrate the opening of the new Broadway musical Motown on Sunday.
The show traces Gordy’s rise from a struggling boxer and autoworker to a music mogul who made stars of Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5 and others.
Before heading in to the show Ross was filled with anticipation.
“These are wonderful memories. I look forward to walking in there and feeling the music — it’s going to be a wonderful moment,” said the former lead of the super group The Supremes.
The musical features hits ranging from The Contours’ Do You Love Me, sung as a segregated audience in Birmingham, Alabama, breaks through a rope to hear the group — to Dancing in the Street by Martha and the Vandellas.
Singer Sting and his wife Trudie Styler couldn’t wait to hear the performances.
We know the music is going to be fantastic,” said Sting.
“We are just going to want to dance all the way through,” his wife added.
Gordy’s relationship with Ross — the couple had a daughter together — is shown beginning in Paris, to the hit My Girl by The Temptations.
After the show the duo talked about thrill of opening night.
“Tonight was better than it has been. I think they put more into it. The cast was on tonight. I mean it was on tonight because it was opening night and they gave a little more. They knew Diana was in the audience,” said Gordy.
For Ross the walk down memory lane was emotional: “I was crying. It was so good. Smokey was crying too.”
The production features a book by Gordy and music and lyrics from the Motown catalog. Former Supreme Mary Wilson said she was happy the history of Motown has finally hit Broadway.
“I mean it should have happened a long time ago. But unfortunately sometimes good things, sometimes you have to wait for them. Mr. Berry Gordy he has wanted to do this for so many years. And after things like Dreamgirls and all those kind of things it’s good to have something that was written by and for Motown,” she said.
In addition to all the Motown legends who filled the audience plenty of Motown fans were on hand for the show including actress Jane Fonda who gave the show a glowing review.
“Absolutely adored it. It is such a fantastic evening. Oh my God, this is going to be on Broadway forever.”