Motown: the Musical has been one of Broadway’s biggest recent hits, putting the music and life of Motown and its founder Berry Gordy on display. Actress Marva Hicks is part of the cast that makes the show what it is. She plays both Berry Gordy’s sister Esther, and Stevie Wonder’s mama Lula and sings the Gladys Knight song.
“It’s a lot of wig changes and a lot of characters,” Hicks says. “It’s high pace, it’s so cool, it’s so much fun,” she says.
And backstage is no different. Hicks says that its chaotic in the middle of all the costume changes and that if you don’t know where you are and what you’re doing, you might get confused.
“The guy that does my wig was having trouble with another wig and he put the wrong wig on me and it would have been the hair from one era with the costume from another,” Hicks laughs. But she says even Gordy himself can appreciate the challenges of theatre, so much that he’s supportive of any mistakes.
“Mr. Gordy loves a good cover. If you go out there and you blow your lyrics and your lines you just figure out a way to keep that show going. Mr. Gordy loves that.”
Motown: the Musical celebrated a year in April but Hicks says the show was in development for 3 and a half years before that. The show is told from Gordy’s perspective and it covers a lot of Motown’s legendary catalogue. Although she’s been in theater many years, Hicks says that the Motown show has truly been a unique experience.
“There’s nothing like when that last beat and that black out and that roar of the crowd at the end of the show. There’s singing along, dancing, crying you got white folks crying and I’m often wondering ‘What are you crying about’ but they’ve got some memory tied up in Motown they’re thinking about. I swear, I’ve seen grown men crying. Motown means a lot. Mr. Gordy did something at the height of the civil rights movement that Motown was at its peak. There was a lot going on.
Tonight’s show will benefit The Tom Joyner Foundation which provides scholarships and other benefits for students attending HBCU’s. Tickets for tonights show will be discounted to $69 and $89 that are usually over $100. So if you can get down to the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York City to see the show tonight, you can help Tom Joyner help students pursue their goal of a college education. Hicks, herself an HBCU graduate of Howard University, will be on hand for a post-show discussion hosted by Tom Joyner.
Marva Hicks Reveals What Goes Into ‘Motown: The Musical’ was originally published on blackamericaweb.com