Quote of the Day: The music is colorblind, but people aren’t. Line from Ain’t too Proud, the Life and Times of The Temptations.

The show features some of The Temptations’ greatest hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get
Ready,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” telling the thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty and
betrayal, as the group’s personal and political conflicts threatened to tear them apart during America’s
decade of civil unrest.

AIN’T TOO PROUD was the 2019 Tony Award winner for Best Choreography, under Sergio Trujillo’s
choreography, as well as nominated for 12 Tony Awards.

Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Marcus Paul James, Jalen Harris, Harrell Holmes Jr., James T. Lane from the National Touring Company of Ain’t Too Proud. Credit: © 2021 Emilio Madrid.

From the first notes from the orchestra to the sweet harmonies and smooth dance moves of the performers, Ain’t Too Proud sweeps you off your feet and pulls you in for an evening of fine entertainment, storytelling, songs and history. Founder of the Temptations, Otis Williams (Marcus Paul James), greets us, then walks us through the life and times of The Temptations. He tells the story of forming the quintet, the members’ personalities and demons. How one left and another filled in, then some came back again. Of the original five, Melvin Franklin (Harrell Holmes, JR.) Eddie Kendricks (Jalen Harris) Paul Williams (James T. Lane) and David Ruffin (played by Harris Matthew on media night), the only surviving member is Otis Williams. He still performs and tours. He formed the group in the early 1960’s, and their first #1 hit was My Girl in 1965. Their songs are the soundtrack to American History and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. The group is still going strong and continues to tour. Over the past 60 years, there have been 23 different people in the musical group. 

– National Touring Company of Ain’t Too Proud. Credit: © 2021 Emilio Madrid.

I am a huge fan of musicals about musicians. Ain’t Too Proud hits all the notes to perfection with a multi-talented cast whose voices blend together like a sweet bouquet to dance moves that get your toe tapping. It’s hard to sit still for a show like this. The underscore to the group’s tremendous success is tragedy, discontent, egos and heartache. Yet, the group as a whole survives. Otis shows us that while they had their trials, they remained brothers. They cared about each other, even when they had to let someone go. The pressure of stardom is overwhelming. The availability of drugs, drink, and destructive lifestyle have been the demise of many groups and performers. The Temptations rose to fame during the Civil Rights era. Their music played while the Detroit riots burned their city. They sang when people were marching for freedom. They provided soul searing music while Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. marched, protested and was assassinated. They sang and danced as they toured and touched so many lives and inspired people. I found myself getting emotional at several scenes in this performance. 

Ain’t Too Proud cast, National Tour. Photo: Emilio Madrid

If you are a fan of Motown music, the history of music and its legends, and enjoy the sweet harmonies of groups like The Temptations along with their smooth dance moves, this is a show for you. I loved it and would go again. 

You can see Ain’t Too Proud, the Life and Times of The Temptations, on tour at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, MN through July 10, 2022. Or, you can catch them in a city near you, check out their schedule on Ain’t too Proud Tour site. Ain’t Too Proud is still playing on Broadway in NYC, as well. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What songs or musical groups play the soundtrack to your life?