While seeing the Broadway production of Cinderella last spring, I learned about all of the amazing performances that would be coming to Spokane in the 2017-2018 season. I nearly jumped out of my seat with enthusiasm when I saw that Motown: The Musical was a part of that line-up. I am from Detroit, so having Motown come to my new home was very meaningful for me. I long-awaited the opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful music and culture that came from Detroit. It was worth the wait. My husband and I had a perfect evening in downtown Spokane enjoying a meal and a marvelous performance.
One of my favorite things about going to see a show at the INB Performing Arts Center is the whole evening that is experienced before the event even begins. It is fun to get dressed up, pick out a new restaurant to try downtown (or go to one of your favorites), and then walk over to the show. As I thought about where to eat, I realized that there are at least a dozen delectable restaurants within walking distance of the theater that I would love to try. We decided to finally try Tortilla Union in River Park Square since I was craving Mexican food and margaritas. We enjoyed a wonderful meal and then headed to the show.
We were handed our programs, took a photo with the Motown backdrop in the lobby, and found our seats. At 7:30, the lights dimmed and the performers began singing a mix of some of Motown’s best known music, including: “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch”, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, “Baby I Need Your Loving”, and more. Hearing these renowned songs and seeing the incredible dance moves on stage confirmed for us all that we were about to see a great show.
Entering into this performance, I expected to hear amazing music and see some awesome dance choreography, but I was pleasantly surprised by the narrative and the story it told. Motown: The Musical takes you on a journey to see how Motown Records was formed and the impact that their music made on history in America. The storyline follows Motown Record’s founder, Berry Gordy, as he sets out to make great music.
Motown Records was founded in in 1959, during a time when Jim Crow laws were still in place. The musical demonstrated what some amazing black artists had to endure as they toured the country and shared their music; Their audiences were separated by their skin color and they put themselves in risk of danger as they performed. The story of Motown goes far beyond creating some of the best music, it played a major role in bridging our country’s racial divide.
While I love that Motown: The Musical is touring and celebrating the music we all know and love, plus spreading some Detroit love everywhere they go, I suppose what I loved most are the implications of the story they shared. What stood out to me were the ordinary people, both Berry Gordy and the Motown artists, who chose to pursue doing what they love most, not knowing that they were impacting history. Most of us can think of something that we would love to do but are often afraid to actually pursue it. I am always an advocate of people taking a small step to do what they love or feel they are born to do.
We can never guarantee what the result will be of taking one small step toward something great, but each of us has the potential to impact one person’s life or the history of the city of Spokane. Motown: The Musical can have a greater impact on Spokane than bringing an incredible week of entertainment; Although, we are definitely thankful for that! I encourage you to allow their story to impact you and to use your life to influence Spokane’s never-ending story.