The National Tour of the Broadway smash hit Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations began its week-long run in Portland on Tuesday. The packed house at Keller Auditorium loved it. So did my husband and I, and – unless it’s “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)” – I’m guessing you will, too.
Ain’t Too Proud is the true story of the greatest R&B group of all time, as told by its founding and last surviving member, Otis Williams. From their beginnings on the streets of Detroit to their rise to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Temptations perform one Motown hit and signature dance move after another.
From the first notes of “The Way You Do the Things You Do” to the final curtain call, get ready to bounce along to hits like “My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “Shout!” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” The music is contagious, the dancing smooth, and the voices stellar. Tuesday night, original Broadway cast member Marcus Paul James went on for Michael Andreaus as Otis, and he was so good you’d swear he was the real Otis Williams. The chemistry between Otis and the other Temptations and the audience was electric.
Though Otis says that it’s about the music, the story of the Temptations is so much more. Marked by the ugliness of racism, hope of the civil rights movement, sacrificial cost of fame, and the bonds of brotherhood, their story is not just their own. It’s part of the American story, and one worth hearing. Watching the poignant scene about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s death (“I Wish It Would Rain”), I was reminded that Black History Month had just begun. And the work of Reverend King is far from over.
Due to these and other adult themes, including drug abuse, domestic violence and suicide, Ain’t Too Proud is recommended for audiences ages 12 and up. As of this writing, tickets (starting at $34.75) are still available for all performances through Sunday, February 12.
If your kids are younger and you’d like to take them to see a big Broadway production, My Fair Lady (ages 8+) is coming up next, running February 28 to March 5. Disney’s The Lion King (January 2024) and Annie (May 2024) are part of Broadway in Portland’s 2023-24 season. For information about ticket sales, click here.
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