Not just your imagination: ‘Temptations’ musical rocks

Berkeley Rep’s world premiere musical, which opened Thursday, Sept. 14, under the direction of Des McAnuff, makes songs resounding clarion calls from their opening beats — the teasing jazz piano riff of “I Can’t Get Next To You,” the ache-filled strings soaring over gentle guitar thrums in “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me).” Richly textured, perfectly blended harmonies back lead vocals that somehow combine swaggering showmanship, meticulously honed technique and emotion of almost unbearable intensity. Channeling Eddie Kendricks, actor Jeremy Pope has an otherwordly, buttery falsetto that warbles among notes as if they were playthings. When David Ruffin (Ephraim Sykes) takes the lead on the show’s title track, abasing himself before his love for an imagined woman, he howls as if to implore the grim reaper for a few minutes more to live.


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Living Legends – Otis, Shelly at Ain’t Too Proud


Smiles after the first two previews of “Ain’t Too Proud.”

It’s great to have the legendary Otis Williams and longtime Temptations manager (since the 60’s) Shelly Berger watching a musical recreation of their life.

Otis is the man in the cool ass black and white jacket. Shelly is the older gentleman in the middle who is crouching down.

It’s great to hear their stories of the 60’s and 70’s. I asked Shelly about how they got the opportunity to work with Rick James in the early 80’s. I loved that song “Standing On The Top” by Rick.

He told me that Rick James idolized the Temps from when he was a kid and if there was any way he could have them sing on his record, it would be an honor.

You can hear Rick yell out “Temptations SING'” on a few songs on his classic releases from the early 80’s.

The Temps influenced so many people across all kinds of groups over the years. Their music stands the test of time.

This show hopefully will stand the test of time too. It’s sooooo good.

New Musical

One of the best things about my job is the creative process.
Watching people create new songs, invent new choreography, direct lighting, etc…it’s fascinating.
I just started working on a new project. The show is being produced in conjunction with the Berkeley Rep Theater and we are rehearsing here at Second Stage in Times Square for the next few weeks.

Right now, I’m watching a master choreographer create something pretty amazing.
We’ll see what happens. Hopefully it will turn out to be a new musical that runs for many years.


#Motown the Musical Tour 2015

I’m joining the Motown tour in Los Angeles for just this week. 
It should be fun for a number of reasons..
1) I loved subbing for Buddy Williams in the Broadway production 
2) I get to play with one of my favorite bass players and guitarist and
3) I get to be in warm weather, open sky and sunshine!!! 
I don’t know if I love LA yet but I’m just that much closer to a place that I do love…San Diego!!


One of the best things about my job is that I get paid to do something I love. Then on top of that, I get to travel around the country and the world…on someone else’s dime! 

I was just talking to my girlfriend today about traveling and we spoke about how so many people never get to see other parts of the world other than their small town. 
I gotta say, find a way to see things. We live in an amazing county. It truly BEAUTIFUL! Especially when you get past the Midwest. The Rocky Mountains to me, are fascinating. The same applies with the southwest and the northwest. So much to see. 
I still think southern CA is my favorite part of the USA. I’ll be back there at the end of the month subbing for the drummer on the Motown the Musical tour. I can’t wait!
Oh…I haven’t even begun talking about other parts of the world yet! Get out there folks. It’s a wonderful world.