‘Ain’t Too Proud’ at Segerstrom Center Tells the Musical Tale of the Temptations

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Scene from “Ain’t Too Proud” at Segerstrom Center

By Simone Goldstone | NB Indy Soundcheck Columnist

The first time I heard the Temptation’s “Just My Imagination” was on my Studebaker radio.

You can hear that song, along with many of their other hits, in the musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” that runs at Segerstrom Center through Sunday, Oct. 29.

The musical is full of the group’s R&B songbook performed so well that the original Broadway cast recording was nominated for a Grammy.

It was too tempting to pass up catching this musical at Segerstrom Center. More than just the hits, the show is a thrilling display of the history behind the group.

It’s hard to imagine a band whose songs capture such tender, soulful moments wrapped in love and youth, when behind the scenes, members were fraught with drug addiction and mental health issues.

Scene from “Ain’t Too Proud” at Segerstrom Center

“Ain’t Too Proud” brings to life the members who went through the revolving door of being in the Temptations. The show takes audiences through their formation, civil rights-era, and finally their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Starting with how the Temptations formed as duos and quartets, the musical takes us through it all including the turbulent issues that simmered just below the breathy surface of their sweetest love songs. The only way the group made to be one of the most successful R&B bands in history is by replacing members as they left or were forced to leave.

The 31-song score includes every hit in their roster (“My Girl” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” to name a few) in addition to classics by the Supremes and Stevie Wonder.

The dance moves are a joy to watch and help brins the characters to life.

Scene from “Ain’t Too Proud” at Segerstrom Center

Charismatic Otis Williams is played by Michael Andreaus, and Paul Williams is played by Clayton Cornelius, who was in the Original Broadway Company. Jalen Harris, as Eddie Kendricks, Harrell Holmes Jr. as Melvin Franklin and Elijah Ahmad Lewis as David Ruffin blew me away with their incredible dance moves and harmonies.

It is as close to seeing the real Temptations as you can get, but you also get the behind-the-scenes history that followed the group all the way from Detroit to Cleveland. Especially incredible was the set design by Tony Award nominated Robert Brill.

Don’t miss your chance to experience the highs and lows of one of the greatest groups in history, learn the stories behind each member, and appreciate the beautiful juxtaposition of the strife underneath the sweetest sounds of R&B.

For tickets, visit www.SCFTA.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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