Motown is coming – with a promise to lay on a show
American performers – they’re loud, they’re brash.
But, as any concertgoer knows, on stage an American artist will out-perform a British artist every time.
“Take, for instance, 50 years ago,” says Michael Taylor, producer of forthcoming stage show The Magic of Motown, headlined by Stateside singing sensation Andre Lejaune.
“America wowed the world with slickly-choreographed concert shows by Motown artists offering the full package.”
Artists like the Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Mary Wells and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas oozed style, sophistication and vocal dexterity, according to Michael.
“This side of the pond things were, erm, different,” he says. “All the Beatles needed to do was turn up – nobody could hear what they were singing above the screaming – and for the likes of the Bachelors, Searchers and Peter and Gordon, a black suit and tie were their idea of a fashion statement.”
So why, if we’re led to believe Michael’s point of view, should it be that American artists shine brightest when the follow spots light the stage? Florida-born and bred singer Andre Lejaune offers an intriguing insight into what makes an American performer.
“It goes back to what we’re taught in stage school,” says Magic of Motown leading man Andre.
“The importance of establishing a rapport with the audience is lesson number one.
“You’re forever gauging their reaction.
“If what you’re doing isn’t gelling, you switch.
“They’ve paid their money to come and see you, so there must be something in your repertoire that’ll please them.”
Andre puts this invaluable grounding to good use as part of theatre box office smash The Magic of Motown. Featuring slick male harmonies and stunning female vocals, the production honours The Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder and many more Tamla Motown legends.
It was not just the distinctive Motown sound, created by founder Berry Gordy Jnr back in 1959, that set the label’s artists apart from all other artists of the era.
For mass market appeal, artistes’ images were carefully controlled from dress and choreography, right down to their manners.
The Magic of Motown demands the same exacting standards from its performers. And with dozens of costume changes shoe-horned into each show, says Andre, “at times there can be just as much going on backstage as there is under the spotlights!”
The Magic of Motown authentically brings to life million-selling hit song followed by million-selling hit song in one spectacular stage show celebrating the world’s most popular record label.
“The guys have been together for some time now,” says Andre, “and we tour the world with our show.
“However, we know all about the British concert scene – our first break was a gig at Butlin’s, Skegness!”
Today, The Magic of Motown concert show starring Andre is recognised as the UK’s number one Motown concert show on tour in the UK, playing huge arenas and massive open-air festivals.
“We still rehearse once a week – making sure our moves are on point and harmonies spot on,” says Andre. “We’d never want to let an audience down.”
The Magic of Motown is on at Blackpool Grand Theatre on Sunday, August 17.
Box office: 01253 290 190 or blackpoolgrand.co.uk easytheatres.com.