MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is back to help San Diego celebrate the New Year with some amazing music. Following the story of musical is based on Berry Gordy’s life and the founding and running of the historic Motown music label. From Diana Ross to Michael Jackson many of Motown’s great artists and their music come to life on stage.
One of those heavy hitter artists is Smokey Robinson, as portrayed by Justin Reynolds. Robinson started as a singer and performer, but also worked in making Motown Records a powerhouse as its Vice President from 1972 until 1990.
Justin comes to the role with experience with being center stage as a headliner in Las Vegas on the Strip, as well as touring the world as a performer with various companies. So here is a quick chat with him about his role as Smokey Robinson in the national tour of MOTOWN.
When did you first become interested in theatre?
I was actually born into the entertainment business! Growing up in Northern Michigan, my parents owned their own band and own production company. I sang in the band and performed in their shows starting around 7. And I haven’t stopped performing since.
How familiar were you with the show and the people whose lives it follows before you auditioned?
Motown has always had a special place in my heart. It’s my favorite type of music. I knew a lot of the songs and the artists who sang them. However, once I got into Motown The Musical, I did learn a lot about the back story behind it all.
Was it at all intimidating to learn you will be playing someone as well-known as Smokey Robinson, and who is still such a presence in the industry as an artist and producer?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it was intimidating but rather extremely exciting. To portray such an iconic person is a dream come true! Smokey had so much influence on music and has shaped the way we write and sing music today. To honor that and pay tribute to him and the entire Motown Legacy is a blessing.
This musical touches on a lot of the issues of America’s attitudes on race, equal opportunity, and the power of representation and demonstration, all of which are just as relevant today as they ever have been – what is it like performing this show this year as you tour?
This shows message of unity is definitely still relevant today. It’s amazing touring with this show and seeing how much of an impact it has on our audiences. There is a moment in the show where Diana Ross sings, “Reach Out and Touch” and she has the audience take the persons hands next to them and wave them high in the air back and forth. It’s an incredible moment in the show to see people of all races, ages and genders coming together and sharing that experience together.
What is your favorite number in the show?
I would have to say that one of my favorite numbers in the show is the Jackson 5 medley. Both of the young gentlemen that portray Young Michael Jackson are phenomenal and the audience goes crazy!!
If you want to follow Justin and his adventures on tour with MOTOWN Instagram – @justinlouisreynolds
Playing through Sunday, December 31st you can find show time and ticket information by going to www.broadwaysd.com