Why new Temptations play is NOT a ‘jukebox musical’

“People always say I make musicals for people who hate musicals and there is some truth to that.” – Des McAnuff

True indeed!

I never liked musicals. I think way too many of them are corny. I once saw a musical where a singer was at a train station , waiting on her train to come or something. Then all of a sudden, as soon as she drops her suitcase on the floor, she belts out a tune. I busted out laughing! I looked around and realized I was the only one in the theater laughing. Ooops!

I won’t reveal what name of the show but it won a TONY Award for best musical years ago. Ugh.

To just drop a suitcase in a train station and everyone suddenly starts dancing and singing is silly to me. Yes, I know the best musicals know how to weave the song into the dialogue and move the story forward. I think I finally understand it after 17 years in this business. But man, some producers make musicals that are kinda wack…and run for decades.

Jersey Boys? Now THAT was a musical for someone like me. There was an article in the LA Times about how more men went to see that show than many others on Broadway at the time. I feel it is one of the reasons why it became so successful. To get straight men to cough up money and be the person begging their wife or girlfriend to see a broadway musical is quite a challenge.

Producers have attributed the show’s financial longevity to repeat customers and its appeal to men, which is a rarity on Broadway.

“Men tell other men they have to see the play. When does a guy call another guy about a Broadway show?” asked Joseph Grano, a lead producer of the musical and the founder and chief executive of Centurion Holdings, a New York business consulting firm.


I liked several other musicals. Hamilton I thought was brilliant. I liked The Lion King, Avenue Q, Memphis, Lady Day, Little Shop, Evita (because I subbed on it a lot I guess), The Color Purple, Altar Boyz, Waitress….but there is something about this new show, Ain’t Too Proud, that speaks to me.

I’ve been in and subbed for a few bad shows over the years. I’ve seen others that make me leave scratching my head as to what people see in it. Again, I am not a musical kind of guy, but love to see well made shows. Hopefully you all will see this one. I’d actually pay money to see it if I weren’t in it.

Why new Temptations play is NOT a ‘jukebox musical’

Ain’t too proud to beg? If you just can’t get enough of the legacy of the Temptations, from their velvety smooth sound to their razor-sharp dance moves, better motor on over to Berkeley Rep for the new Broadway musical “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations.”

Steeped in the memories of Otis Williams, the sole surviving band member, this musical spins around a finger-snapping greatest hits catalog that spans generations, from the slick doo-wop harmony of “My Girl” to the pain and rage of “Ball of Confusion” and “Runaway Child, Running Wild.” Coming on the heels of Broadway-bound musicals such as “Roman Holiday,” “Monsoon Wedding” and “Amelie,” the highly-anticipated “Temptations” tuner, which is getting its world premiere through Oct. 8 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, definitely has aspirations to a Broadway run. The musical charts the rise of the iconic Motown group amid the turbulence and chaos of the Civil Rights era.

“For me the Temptations are more than just a band, they are an American institution,” says director Des McAnuff, famed for helming “Jersey Boys” and “Tommy.” “They were at the vanguard, not just musically but also culturally and politically.”

Read more here:


New Temptations Musical AIN’T TOO PROUD Extends at Berkeley Rep

I’m happy to be a part of this amazing show and amazing cast!

Come see it if you are in the Bay Area!

Due to an overwhelming demand, Berkeley Rep has announced that the world premiere musical of Ain’t Too Proud-The Life and Times of The Temptations will extend for two additional weeks. Originally scheduled to close on October 8, the popular musical will now run through Sunday, October 22.

Starting today, tickets for the added fifteen performances can be purchased online at berkeleyrep.org and by phone at 510 647-2949.

An electrifying new musical about the life and times of The Temptations, the greatest R&B group of all time (Billboard Magazine 2017). They were five young guys on the streets of Detroit when they were discovered by Berry Gordy, who signed them to his legendary new label. After 24 attempts, they finally had a hit and the rest is history-how they met, how they rose, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the nation fell into civil unrest. Kennedy Prize-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, Olivier Award-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo, and two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff bring you this thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal. Iconic hits like “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and the signature dance moves that made the “Classic Five” Temptations part of our cultural history forever.

Read more HERE:




Sleeping In

One of the benefits of being away from “home” and being a full time musician and working on a musical is the ability to get rid of the alarm clock. Waking up at the perfect time (10:00AM) is glorious. It’s even better when it’s quiet and sunny when you open the windows.

Ahhhh…a preview of life as a retiree. Let me calculate my pension benefits, plus my social security, plus my Roth IRA…..add that up and combine my…

Oh damn…I guess I can retire in 40 more years. Maybe I should be getting up earlier?

Just kidding. I’m good. I’ll be just fine.

I can get used to not having to get up at 6:15AM to pick up my kids from my ex-wife every day to bring them to school in the mornings. It’s a good feeling to actually sleep in after getting to bed after a gig.

The bad thing is that I’m away from my kids. I’m happy with the fact it’s temporary.

This late morning thing is not bad. 8 more years and hopefully I’ll be able to do this on a regular basis. By then, my son will be off to some form of higher education.

I’m going to enjoy every minute of this for now.

Busy Body


It’s been a busy weekend;
Thursday – A rehearsal in the afternoon with Vaneese Thomas for her shows in Lugano Switzarland in a few weeks, then later that night, a club date with a Matthew Friedman and Uptown Sounds  – a Craig Scott band in NJ.

Friday – Worked at the off -Broadway musical Avenue Q, then a late night gig with East Side Mix at Prohibition on the Upper West Side.

Saturday – A two show day at Avenue Q.

Sunday – Played some worship music at Grace church in the morning then shoot a promotion video for 747 Orchestras

Monday – Wrapped things up with a great gig with a great brass brand called Street Beat Brass in Brooklyn.

I’m glad these sticks came in the other day from Vic Firth. I’m gonna need ’em!