11:13 AM CDT, June 6, 2013
It's signed, sealed and soon to be delivered: "Motown the Musical" is to kick off its first national tour in Chicago next spring, with a 12-week engagement at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., from April 22 to July 13, 2014.
"Why would I start the tour in Chicago? The question is, why wouldn't I?" asked lead producer Kevin McCollum in an interview Thursday. "I know the audiences are fantastic."
McCollum, who went to Deerfield High School, also has a personal connection to the area. Although not a critical favorite, "Motown the Musical" was written by Motown founder Berry Gordy and features a plethora of the legendary record label's biggest hits, as recorded over multiple decades. It has proven to be a sold-out hit on Broadway. Audiences have reacted to enthusiastically to actors playing the likes of Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder.
McCollum said that while details were still being ironed out, the new show was likely to be "point-of-origin Chicago" in union lingo, which means that the tour would begin and hold at least some of its rehearsals here.
However, McCollum also said that the current plan (which could change) was for the show to leave the Loop after those 12 weeks and move on to another, yet-unannounced city. McCollum also said that the tour would allow Gordy and the rest of the creative team to tweak the show.
"We know the show much better now," McCollum said, pointing out that "Motown the Musical" is one of the very few Broadway hits that opened cold on the Great White Way. Although not nominated for best new musical, "Motown" is expected to feature prominently on Sunday night's Tony Awards.
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