Earl Reece, executive director of the Strand and director of Mo’ Motown, said last year’s show sold out, and audience demand brought it back.
“I am a firm believer that Motown is America’s music,” he said. “It began in 1957, and it survived the test of time.”
Reece said there is a different feel for the show this year. Although some of the crowd’s favorite songs will return, he said to expect a fresh, more exciting show this year with new tunes and cast members.
“‘God Bless the USA’ is the ending number. I think (the song) says so much. It a tribute to the country but also a tribute to Americans and how far we’ve come,” Reece said. “Motown provides such a great atmosphere to celebrate music and our country.”
Cassi Costoulas, director of business development and marketing, said there are 23 performers this year, ranging from high school graduates to people in their early 30s. She gave a sneak peek of additional artists audiences can look forward to seeing, such as Martha and Vandellas, the Jackson 5 and Smokey Robinson.
“It’s more like a tribute show,” she said. “They will sing in the style of these artists.”
Ayana DuBose, Tierra Porter and Nora Schell, all 18, are among the singers and dancers who will take the stage. Schell said, “I am really excited to try to capture the vibe of Motown. We are making it our own. Even though it was great as its original, it’s kind of like putting a new little twist on these old classics.”
Porter, who performed in last year’s show, echoed this sentiment, saying, “Although Motown is older and the cast is much younger, the vibe that we bring to it is interesting to both age groups.”
DuBose said audiences can expect to have fun. “Just come to the show,” she said. “It will be great!”
Sterling McClary, 19, Doug Tindle Jr., 27, and George Owell Vickers V will also hit the stage as singers and dancers. McClary also is an assistant choreographer.
“Audiences can expect a high-energy show,” McClary said. “It’s a guaranteed good time.”
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder is one of the many hits Tindle Jr. will be singing. He said he is looking forward to giving the audience a great performance as well as showcasing local talent.
“I think it will help uplift people to see what they have among them,” he said. “It’s inspiring.”
Owell agreed, saying, “People should come because it is important to support community theater. We work to uplift the area and community and enrich the arts.”
Allison Michalke, head choreographer, said Mo’ Motown is a well-rounded show with a high degree of excellence and professionalism from everyone in the cast.
“There is new choreography and it is so high-energy. It doesn’t ever stop — except for intermission — and even then you will still feel the energy in the room,” she said. “The community will be in love with it. There will be surprises, exciting numbers and touching moments.”
Catherine Rhodes is the assistant director, and Michael Zauchin is the musical director. Tickets for the show are $20 and assigned seating. Show times are 7 p.m. July 4, 8 p.m. July 5 to 7, and 3 p.m. July 8.
The theater is located at 117 North Park Square. For more information, visit www.earlsmithstrand.org or call (770) 293-0080.