Tag Archives: Diana Ross

懐かしの70年代ソウル・ミュージック満載、BET「アメリカン・ソウル」、2/5放映開始!

Love, Peace and Soul

‘American Soul’: BET Drama

70年代の人気番組、「ソウル・トレイン」をドラマ化した、BET (Black Entertainment Television) 制作のテレビ番組、「アメリカン・ソウル」がいよいよ2月5日から放映されます。

BETの発表によると、この「ソウル・トレイン物語」は史実とフィクションを交えた、知られざるソウル・トレインのエピソードを満載している、とか……。まだ、黒人のための娯楽番組がなかった70年代初期、ドン・コーネリアスがシカゴで始めた、ソウル・ミュージックとダンスをフィーチャーしたテレビ番組、「Soul Train」は、その放映が始まると、瞬く間に全米に広がり、黒人たちだけでなく、白人のトレンディ―な若者たちを魅了し、さらに世界的な現象となってしまったのは周知の事実です。

司会者、ドン・コーネリアスやプロデューサー、ミュージシャンたちの裏話も気になりますが、何と言っても、今のアーティストたちによる音楽パフォーマンスが話題になっています。

グラディス・ナイトを演じるのは元デスティニー・チャイルドのケリー・ローランド。グラディスのようなハスキーな声で歌うため、さまざまな努力をしたそうです。「ウィスキーをガブ飲みして声をつぶしたらどうか、とトライしたけど、全く効果がなかった。」と告白しています。そんなケリーの歌うグラディスのヒット曲、「Midnight Train to Georgia」は聴きものです。

1970年にスタックス・レコードが放ったダンス・ヒット曲、ルーファス・トーマスの「Do The Funky Chicken」をカバーするのは、ちょっと驚き、元New Editionのリード・シンガーだったボビー・ブラウン。ルーファス・トーマス (1917 – 2001) はメンフィス出身で、当時は、全米で一番ファンキーなR&Bシンガーだと言われたほど。まだ17歳だった娘のカーラ・トーマス(Gee Whizが1961年に大ヒット)とともに、一世を風靡したこともありますが、最近の若い人たちは知らないですよね。

他にも、モータウン・レコードの花形歌姫、ダイアナ・ロスを、元デスチャのミシェール・ウィリアムスが演じたり、K. ミシェールが、同じくモータウンのガール・グループ、Martha and the Vandellasのリード・ヴォーカル、マーサ・リーヴスの歌をカバーしたり、70年代ソウル・ミュージックを再現した、楽しいエンターティンメント番組に仕上がっているようです。

American Soul – BET

2019年2月5日9pm スタート

全10話

 

 

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“Motown: The Musical” review by Ken Simmons

Motown: The MusicalLunt-Fontanne Theatre

READ JAPANESE REVIEW 日本語レビュー

“Motown: The Musical” review

by Ken Simmons

“Motown: The Musical” is a joyously delightful play featuring the classic R&B music of Berry Gordy’s historic label created in Detroit, Michigan that revolutionized the record industry in the 1960’s with its superstars Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and The Jackson Five. Starring Brandon Victor Dixon in a superb performance as Gordy, this dazzling production tells the story of how Motown was founded in the Motor City and became “the sound of young America.”

More of a concert than a traditional play highlighted by an amazing 60 songs, “Motown: The Musical” captures the historical significance of the era as the company thrived and provided the soundtrack for the civil rights movement, the protests against the Vietnam War, and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Written and produced by Gordy, the story begins in 1983 as he feels so betrayed by so many of his artists, composers and producers leaving him for bigger contracts at other companies that he’s refusing to attend the “Motown 25th Anniversary” television special. Eventually he changes his mind and joins all his past and current stars on stage for the reunion, but not after recalling the joy and the pain of the rise and fall of Motown.

Motown: The Musical Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

The core of “Motown The Musical” is the relationship between Gordy and Diana Ross which began when he discovered her teen group The Supremes, leading to their love affair and launching her solo career as one of the greatest female solo artists. Valisia LeKae, who is nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role In A Musical, perfectly captures the persona and the voice of the Motown diva. One of the most memorable moments of the play is when she strolls into the audience and recruits people to join her in singing Ross’ signature song, “Reach Out and Touch.” Gordy was simultaneously her lover and her boss, and the play illustrates the dilemma caused by their business and romantic relationship. Eventually they break up, and Ross, like Gaye and the Jackson Five, abandoned Motown for bigger pay days at major labels.

“Motown: The Musical” also presents the ongoing creative battle Gordy had with Gaye who rebelled against Gordy’s direction. Gaye demanded to express his social consciousness, leading to his classic What’s Going On album which Gordy initially refused to release. Unlike Gaye, Robinson was Gordy’s close friend and his strongest supporter. Charl Brown masterfully portrays the falsetto crooner and earned a Tony nomination for Best Performance By An Actor In A Featured Role In A Musical. Robinson was by Gordy’s side from the beginning of Motown, comforting and inspiring his mentor as an artist, the label’s principal composer, and later as a company Vice President.

Motown: The Musical Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

“Motown: The Musical” is one of the most entertaining plays you will ever witness featuring some of the greatest songs of the all time from Ross and The Supremes, Robinson and his group The Miracles, Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and many more. Gordy faced a monumental task telling the Motown story in only two and a half hours. Unfortunately due to the concentration on his relationship with Ross and wanting to spotlight the enormous Motown song catalog, two of Motown’s legends are unjustly relegated to cameo appearances. We do hear The Jackson Five’s first four number one hits, “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There,” but there is very little dialogue from the brothers. Their appearance is one of the highlights of the play and leaves you wanting more of their music and their history, especially from Michael Jackson. Stevie Wonder receives even less attention with a much too brief three song segment–“Fingertips, Part 2,” “For Once In My Life,” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and virtually no dialogue at all.

The story is scattered, incomplete, and fails to consistently flow and provide depth and meaning to many aspects of the Motown legacy. But the essence of “Motown: The Musical,” the incredible music that is as relevant and exhilarating today as it was fifty years ago, makes this a very special production worthy of its four Tony Award nominations. The exceptional talent and charisma of Dixon as Gordy, LeKae as Ross, Brown as Robinson, and the entire cast who expertly recreate the voices of the Motown artists make “Motown: The Musical” must see Broadway!

motown-on-broadway-photo

Motown: The Musical Opens Soon!!

Motown: The Musical

Motown: The Musical

READ IN JAPANESE

The Debut For Motown: The Musical Is Just A Week Away.

“Motown: The Musical” which boasts the largest ensemble of any show currently on Broadway (over 35 performers and nineteen musicians), is scheduled to open at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York City.

The show begins previews on March 11 and officially opens on April 14. It was written by Motown Records’ founder Berry Gordy Jr. and features music and lyrics from the Motown catalog.

Berry Gordy Jr.

Berry Gordy Jr.

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.

The musical features hits ranging from The Contours’ “Do You Love Me”, “Dancing In The Street” by Martha and The Vandellas, “My Girl” by The Temptations.

Although the show is from Gordy’s perspective and pivoting around his romance with Diana Ross, it doesn’t duck some of the criticism that surrounded him.

Gordy told the hardest part in bringing Motown to the stage, was putting the story on paper.

Diana Left Him For $20 Million

“The hard part was writing it in the first place. When Diana left me for $20 million I was crying inside. I was crying. It was like horrible for me,” the 83-year-old admitted. “But I had to do what was best for her, because I promised her when we had our love affair that I wanted her to be the biggest star in the world, and would never let our relationship interfere with that.”

The show’s co-producer Kevin McCollum believes that “Motown: The Musical” will resonate well with audiences and he can envision the show being turned into a major motion picture.