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Tuesday, 11 December 2012 06:07

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL Broadway Casting Announced, Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson



CHARL BROWN as Smokey Robinson 


as Berry Gordy and Diana Ross


Get Motown: the Musical Tickets

Producers Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy are proud to announce additional Broadway casting for the world premiere of MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL, based on the life of iconic Motown founder Berry Gordy.

As previously announced, Tony Award® nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) and Valisia LeKae (The Book of Mormon) will star in the leading roles of Berry Gordy and Diana Ross. Broadway veteran Charl Brown will join them as Smokey Robinson,leading  an ensemble cast of 40 featuring Timothy J. Alex, Nicholas Christopher, Bryan Terrell Clark, Rebecca E. Covington, Ariana DeBose, Andrea Dora, Preston W. Dugger III, Wilkie Ferguson, Dionne Figgins, Marva Hicks, Sasha Hutchings, Lauren Lim Jackson, Morgan James, John Jellison, Crystal Joy, Grasan Kingsberry, Marielys Molina, Sydney Morton, Jarran Muse, Jesse Nager, Milton Craig Nealy, N’Kenge, Dominic Nolfi, Saycon Sengbloh, Ryan Shaw, Jamal Story, Eric LaJuan Summers, Ephraim Sykes, Julius Thomas III, Daniel J. Watts and Donald Webber, Jr.

Additional casting will be announced.

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL will open on Broadway at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 West 46 Street) on April 14, 2013 following preview performances beginning March 11, 2013.

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL will feature a book by Berry Gordy and music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue.

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy's incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and so many more.  

Featuring all the classics you love, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. The music that shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat finally comes to Broadway in the season's most anticipated world-premiere event.

MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL’s creative team will feature choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Blues in the Night) and Warren Adams (Toy Story), scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Tony Award® nominee ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, “Project Runway”), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz (Once, Sister Act), sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (Rock of Ages, The Scottsboro Boys), projection design by Daniel Brodie (Jekyll and Hyde).

MOTOWN : THE MUSICAL will feature arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who will supervise the 18 piece orchestra and reproduce the classic “Sound of Young America” for the Broadway stage, with co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Crook (“Smash”), dance arrangements by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and music direction by Joseph Joubert (Nice Work If You Can Get It).


BRANDON VICTOR DIXON. (Berry Gordy). Broadway: The Color Purple; Harpo (Tony Award® Nomination), City Center Encores! Cotton Club Parade w/ Wynton Marsalis; Host, City Center Encores! House of Flowers; Royal, The Lion King Cheetah National Tour; Adult Simba (original). Off-Broadway: The Scottsboro Boys; Haywood Patterson (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and AUDELCO award Nomination) Rent; Tom Collins. Regional: Ray Charles Live!; Ray Charles (Ovation Nomination), Far from Heaven (Raymond Deagan); Columbia University’s 107th Annual Varsity Show, as well as numerous other productions. TV: Quincy Jones’s “America’s Millennium,” ABC’s “One Life to Live;”Darryl (recurring) “Law & Order: Criminal Intent;” Dix (feature) “The Good Wife;” “Clerk” (guest star). Awards: Columbia University’s I.A.L. Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts, National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts First Level Award, British Academy of Dramatic Acting scholarship, Presidential Scholar Semi-Finalist. Brandon, a Columbia University graduate, thanks family, friends, Jack Waddell, Abrams Artists, and Noble Talent Management for their continuous support and belief in him. @brandonvdixon

VALISIA LE KAE (Diana Ross). A native of Memphis, Tennessee, she has been blessed to grace the Broadway stage in numerous productions such as The Book of Mormon, The Threepenny Opera, 110 in the Shade and Ragtime. Other New York credits include the John Denver musical, Almost Heaven, as well as many readings and workshops. Her portrayal of “Sarah” in the Drury Lane production of Ragtime garnered her a 2010 Joseph Jefferson Award and a Black Theatre Alliance nomination. Other regional credits include Caroline, or Change (“Emmie”), Dreamgirls (“Deena Jones”), Big River (“Alice's Daughter”), Godspell (“Joanne”) and Little Shop of Horrors (“Chiffon”), for which she was nominated for a Kevin Kline Award. She was featured in the “Live at the Lincoln Center” production of Camelot, which aired on PBS. She has toured throughout the country in All Shook Up (“Lorraine”) and Mamma Mia! (“Lisa”), as well as proudly appearing with the USO. Television credits include "One Life to Live," "The 60th Annual Tony Awards" and "The View."

CHARL BROWN (Smokey Robinson). Broadway: Jersey Boys (Barry Belson) Sister Act (Officer Eddie Souther, TJ, Pablo U/S, Ensemble). Off Broadway: Walmartopia (Pearson/Lawrence). Theater: Jersey Boys (Barry Belson) Palazzo Las Vegas, Hair (Hud) European Tour, Johnny Baseball (Tim Wyatt) ART, Dreamgirls (Curtis Taylor Jr.) SDMT, The Wiz (Scarecrow U/S, Ensemble) La Jolla Playhouse, Ragtime (Coalhouse) Performance Riverside, Six Degrees of Separation (Paul) Long Beach Playhouse, Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas), Chorus Line (Richie) Starlight Theater, Star Wars Trilogy 30 Minutes (Lando Calrissian) Edinburgh Fringe Festival. TV: “America's Got Talent,” “Macy's 85th Thanksgiving Parade.”

TIMOTHY J. ALEX is truly honored to be involved with Motown: The Musical. Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Timothy has been calling NYC home since 2000. Original Broadway casts: Elf (2010/12), How to Succeed in Business, Pal Joey, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Man of La Mancha, Sweet Smell of Success, Thou Shalt Not, Chicago, Titanic. Original Toronto Cast: Ragtime, Fosse, Sunset Boulevard, Crazy for You. TV: “Dancing with the Stars,” “All My Children,”  “Grand Theft Auto IV”. 

NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER. Broadway debut! Born in Bermuda and raised in Boston, MA. Studied at both The Boston Conservatory and The Juilliard  School. 1st National Tour: In The Heights. Off-Broadway: Rent, Hurt Village.

BRYAN TERRELL CLARK. Baltimore, Maryland native. After graduating from Yale School of Drama, he moved to California to begin a career as actor, singer/songwriter and host. He has starred opposite Laurence Fisburne and Angela Bassett in the film Fences and appeared in television shows such as “CSI New York,” “The Unit” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” He is a co-writer on Mary J. Blige’s current album release “Irreversible,” on My Life II. Musically he has performed with such artists as Ne-Yo, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Ciara, Yolanda Adams and Maxwell. He is a featured vocalist on Michael Buble’s new release “Crazy Love” and is currently in the studio recording his solo album. He is the host of “Bryan Terrell Clark’s Tribute” which has featured such artists as Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson and Kenny Latimore.

REBECCA E. COVINGTON is thrilled to be making her Broadway debut!  National / international tours: Mamma Mia! (Ali),  Ain't Misbehavin' (Charlayne), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Muzzy).  Regional: Aida (Nehebka), Ain't Misbehavin' (Charlayne),  Little Shop of Horrors (Ronette), Smokey Joe's Cafe (Brenda), A Raisin in the Sun (Ruth), Ragtime, Hair, 42nd  Street and NYC developmental LAB and readings of Motown: The Musical

ARIANA DEBOSE. Theater: Bring It On The Musical (“Nautica”, Broadway, National Tour), Company (New York Philharmonic, 2011), Hairspray (“Inez,” NCT). Television: “One Life to Live,”  “So You Think You Can Dance?” Season 6 Top 20 contestant. 

ANDREA DORA. Tarzan (Kala u/s). International Tours: Rent (Joanne). New York workshops: Jerry Mitchell’s Peep Show and Josephine The Musical. Regional Theatres: Cape Cod Playhouse, Westport Country Playhouse, Prince Music Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse and Goodspeed Musicals. Commercials/Industrials: Media Set, Bing, Gilette, New York Lottery, and McDonalds McCafe. Andrea is the founder, band leader, and singer in the New York City based band, The Hudson Project.

PRESTON W. DUGGER III. A Washington, D.C. Native, he has had an extensive career performing with ballet companies across the nation from Dance Theatre of Harlem to Ballet San Jose. He made his Broadway debut in Memphis.

WILKIE FERGUSON. Broadway: 2012 Tony Award® winner The Gershwins' Porgy and BessWonderland.  Off Broadway: Cotton Club Parade.  Tours: In The HeightsHairsprayDreamgirls. Regional: Sister Act, Ray Charles Live, Stormy Weather. Eastman School of Music classical piano performance, Morehouse College, New World School of the Arts. Boys' Choir of Harlem assistant director/ music theory instructor/ piano accompanist.

DIONNE FIGGINS. Broadway: Leap of Faith (Assistant Choreographer), Memphis, Hot Feet. Off-Broadway/Regional: Flashdance (Assistant Choreographer), Soul Doctor (Dance Captain/Nina Cover), Chocolove Voices: A One Woman Musical (writer/performer), Smokey Joe’s Café (Ovation nomination), Ray, Sophisticated Ladies, The Wiz. Film/TV: “Girl on Fire” Reebok commercial, “Bolden”  (Nurse Dionne/Muse), Memphis on PBS, “House,” “80th Annual Academy Awards,” Louis, Walk Hard, Across the Universe. Dance Theater of Harlem, Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

MARVA HICKS. Broadway: Caroline, or Change, The Lion King, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Off-Broadway: Thunder Knocking on the Door (Minetta Lane), Caroline, or Change (The Public), The First Breeze of Summer, (The Signature Theatre). , Regional: Thunder Knocking on the Door (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Award), Cuttin Up, The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage/Alliance Theatre (Suzi Award, Helen Hayes Nomination), Crowns, and Sophisticated Ladies (Helen Hayes Nomination).  Bess (Austin Circle of Theatres B. Iden Payne Award) in the Zach Scott Theatre’s Jazz/Blues production of Porgy and Bess. TV: “One Life to Live,” “Mad About You,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Sister Sister.” Film: Labor Day, Asunder, Virtuoisity, Preaching to the Choir.  Recording: Polygram Records. Tours: Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.    

SASHA HUTCHINGS. Broadway: Memphis, Regional: Lyric OK, Music Theatre Wichita, TV: Smash (NBC).

LAUREN LIM JACKSON. Broadway: Memphis. Wonderland (OCR). Finian’s Rainbow. Off-Broadway: The Wiz (Encores!). Regional: Rocky Horror Show (Old Globe), Wonderland (Straz Center), Memphis (La Jolla, 5th Ave), High School Musical II (TOTS). Tour: West Side Story World Tour. Film/TV: “Smash,” The Smurfs, Mrs. Santa Claus. Choreography credits include Off-Broadway: Sistas (AUDELCO nomination) and Art.Party.Theater.Company. Orange County School of the Arts and Harvard graduate.

MORGAN JAMES comes to Motown: The Musical direct from the Broadway revival of Godspell, singing 'Turn Back O Man".  Broadway/New York: Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland and The Addams Family, (original casts), soloist Bernstein's "Mass" with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center, conducted by Marin Alsop).  Regional: Arizona Theatre Company, Paper Mill Playhouse, Barrington Stage Co,  Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Two River Theater Co.  Recordings: solo record debut "Morgan James Live" available on Epic Records.  Training: The Juilliard School.  Complete discography, visit @morganajames.

JOHN JELLISON. Broadway: Memphis, All Shook Up,   The Phantom of the Opera, Caroline, or Change, Oklahoma!, Putting It Together, On The Town, Paul Simon’s The Capeman, Titanic, Crazy For You, Mastergate, Me And My Girl, Sunday in the Park With GeorgeNick and Nora, Wind in the WillowsBaby, Zalmen or the Madness of God  and Sweet Bird of Youth.  Off-Broadway: original Assassins, A New Brain, The Waves, Deathbed, Lennon. TV: “Law &Order”(s).

CRYSTAL JOY.Dreamgirls (“Lorrell Robinson,” Signature Theater), Memphis The Musical (First national tour), Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (West End), Legally Blonde (“Pilar,” First national tour), Dreamgirls (“Lorrell Robinson,” Theater Under The Stars), The Wiz (“Dorothy,” Hangar Theater). 2004 Bertelsmann World of Expression Scholarship Recipient 1St Place:Vocal Composition.

GRASAN KINGSBERRY. Broadway: Nice Work if You Can Get It, Leap of Faith, Catch Me If You Can, Finian's Rainbow, The Color Purple, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Aida. New York Theater: Encores!Anyone Can Whistle, Fanny. Tours: Dreamgirls, The Color Purple. Film: I Am Legend. TV: “All My Children,” “Today Show,” “The Late Show,” “Oprah Winfrey Show.” Training: The Juilliard School, Northwest School of the Arts.

MARIELYS MOLINA.  Caracas, Venezuela native. Broadway: Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away (Kate’s Alternate/Swing), Sweet Charity (ensemble), First national tour of Swing! (featured Latin swing), The Wizard of Oz (NSMT). Awards: World Salsa Open 2003 (1st Place), ESPN World Salsa Championships 2005 & 2007, 3rd and 2nd place.

SYDNEY MORTON is thrilled to be a part of the Motown family!  Broadway: Evita (u/s “Mistress,” OBC), Memphis (OBC). Tours/Regional: Jersey Boys Chicago Company (“Francine”), High School Musical Paper Mill Playhouse (Gabriella), The MUNY, PCLO. Training: Musical Theatre BFA University of Michigan, RADA. Big thank you's to The Chairman, Charles, BRS, Telsey, Mom, Dad, Bud, and Preston! 1John 4:19! Sydney also produces and performs her own comedy writing; check it out at

JARRAN MUSE. Broadway/NYC: Irving Berlin's White Christmas OBC (“Jimmy”), Dreamgirls (“Frank”) Tours: Green Day's American Idiot (“Favorite Son”), Dreamgirls, Hairspray, 42nd  Street (“Billy Lawlor”). Regional: Oklahoma! (“Will Parker,” Portland Center Stage), My One and Only (Goodspeed Opera House and Marriot Theater Lincolnshire), Joseph...Dreamcoat (Pittsburgh CLO), Crazy For You (Fulton Opera House), 25th  Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Alpine Theater Project), and onboard Norwegian Cruise Line. 

JESSE NAGER. Broadway: Mary Poppins (OBC), Good Vibrations (OBC), MAMMA MIA! (u/s Pepper).  National Tour: Xanadu.  Off-Broadway: Fame on 42nd Street.  Favorite Regional: Stephen Sondheim's Being Alive (Philadelphia Theater Company), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Papermill Playhouse/McCarter Theater), Once on This Island (Reprise LA!).  He has sung with Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Jason Mraz, Patti Labelle and currently records vocals for “Smash” on NBC.  Jesse is the Artistic Director of The Broadway Boys, a collection of singers whose contemporary arrangements redefine the Broadway sound.

MILTON CRAIG NEALY. Broadway: Dreamgirls (original and revival companies); Ain't Misbehavin’; Mail; Once On This Island; Miss Saigon; Caroline, or Change; Five Guys Named Moe.National tours: The Full Monty, Jesus Christ Superstar (25th  Anniversary tour). Film: The Blues Brothers.Television: “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,”  “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “NYPD Blue,” “Person of Interest.” 

N’KENGE. Broadway: Sondheim on Sondheim West End: The Genius of Ray Charles. Regional: 3 Mo Divas (Helen Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Actress) Aida (Arizoni Theater Award for Best Lead Actress). Solo Concerts: Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall w/Wynton Marsalis and Ornette Coleman. Opera Houses: New York City Opera, Vienna KammerOpera. Graduate of the Juilliard School. Hailed by Stephen Holden/ NY Times as “a classically trained diva who can stretch from Broadway pop-soul to opera.”

DOMINIC NOLFI. Broadway: Jersey Boys, “Tommy DeVito” (1st replacement), original cast /cast recording (Grammy Award). European Tour: Grease, “Danny.” Regional: Jersey Boys (La Jolla) “Frankie”, “Bob.”  Workshops/Labs: Motown: The Musical, “Barney Ales;” Piece of My Heart, “Young Wazzel.” TV: CBS’ “Broadway Under the Stars.” Film: Zombie Prom, “Joey” (Best comics-orientated film, Comic Con International). BFA, Boston Conservatory. Founding member of The Doo Wop Project.

SAYCON SENGBLOH.Broadway: Fela!, Hair, Wicked, The Color Purple, Aida. National Tour: Rent, What's On the Hearts of Men. Off-Broadway: Hurt Village, Hair 40th Anniversary Concert (NYSF / Delacorte) and Hair (Public Theater). Film / Television: American Gangster, Funny Valentines, "Law & Order," "Conviction," "Prince of Motorcity" (Pilot),  Regional: Once on This Island (Papermill Playhouse) The Color Purple, Jar the Floor, Dinah Was (Alliance Theater), The Freddie Hendricks' Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (7Stages), Tyler Perry's I Know I've Been Changed

RYAN SHAW is excited to make his Broadway debut in Motown: The Musical. This two time Grammy nominee signed with Columbia records in 2007 and since he has toured the globe and shared the stage with such artists as Bonnie Rait, Van Halen, and BB King. His theater journey started with Tyler Perry in I Know I’ve Been Changed. Most recently Ryan has been proud to launch, a website and bimonthly event to celebrate soul music’s return.

JAMAL STORY. Broadway:  The Color Purple (original cast).   Tour:  Cher Farewell Tour, Cher at Caesar’s Palace, Madonna Drowned World Tour. Regional:  Senor Discretion, Himself at Arena Stage, Asst. Choreographer; Oklahoma! for Dallas Summer Musicals (dancer). Television:  “Smash” (dancer), Blue Man Group on America’s Got Talent (choreographer).  Concert Dance: Complexions, Donald Byrd/The Group, Spectrum, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Ft. Worth/Dallas Ballet.

ERIC LaJUAN SUMMERS. Broadway: Elf (Original 2012 Cast), The Little Mermaid (“Jetsam”), Disney’s Aida (“Mereb”), The Wedding Singer (original cast recording). New York Workshops: AladdinGet ShortyA Bronx Tale, Toxic Avenger and “Basquiat” in Basquiat. Film: Reunion 108 (Young Alphonzo). Performed with the Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Oklahoma and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras. 

EPHRAIM SYKES. St. Petersburg, Florida native. Broadway/Off-Broadway: Newsies (Original cast, Fred Astaire nomination), Memphis (original cast), Rent(Off-B’way, Benny),The Little Mermaid, The Wiz (Encores!). TV/Film: Leave It on the Floor (lead), Dance Flick, “30Rock” (principal), “NYC 2-2” (principal), “Smash.”   

JULIUS THOMAS III. Broadway: The Scottsboro Boys (Roy), The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess (Crabman/Mingo/US). Off-Broadway: The Scottsboro Boys, Dial 'N'.  National Tour: Xanadu (Terpsicore), Shrek (Donkey/US), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Ensemble), The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Soloist). Regional: Guthrie, Stage One, West Virginia Public, Musical Theatre of Wichita, KC Starlight, NYMF and more.

DANIEL J. WATTS . Broadway: Ghost (Original Company), In the Heights, Memphis (Original Company), Disney's The Little Mermaid (Original Company), The Color Purple. TV/Film: “Smash,” Something Whispered, The Jones/Havemeyer Wedding. To see Daniel's original work go to

DONALD WEBBER, JR.. Broadway debut. Two time LA Ovation Award nominee. B.F.A. Acting graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Dramatic Arts.  First national tour: Jersey Boys.  LA: Venice (Center Theatre Group), Witness Uganda.  Film: Leave It On the Floor. TV: “American Idol” Season 9 (Top 40).

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