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Across The Pond

Charl Brown Joins West End Production of Motown

Charl Brown, who originated the iconic role of Smokey Robinson on Broadway, will recreate his Tony nominated performance in the West End production of the hit Motown the Musical.

The biographical musical about the history-making record label is set to hit London’s Shaftesbury Theater in early 2016.  As previously announced, Cedric Neal (After Midnight, Porgy & Bess) will be taking on the lead role of Berry Gordy and Lucy St. Louis (Beautiful, Book of Mormon, Ragtime) will join him as Diana Ross.  Sifiso Mazibuko will also join the cast as Marvin Gaye.

Motown the Musical opened in the spring of 2013 to mixed critical reviews, but global appreciation for its legendary music helped make it a box office success.  While the first U.S. National Tour made its debut in April of 2014, the Broadway production cited “retooling” efforts to minimize production costs as it temporarily closed the Broadway version this past January.  It was recently announced that Motown will return to Broadway for an 18 week run in July next year.

Brown’s portrayal of Smokey Robinson in the original Broadway cast of Motown earned him a 2013 Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.  The Sister Act and Jersey Boys vet was one of the few original cast members to remain a part of Motown for the entire duration of its Broadway run.

Further casting for the West End production includes Keisha Amponsa Banson (Mary Wells), Cindy Belliot (Anna Gordy), Samuel Edwards (Jackie Wilson), Portia Harry (Teena Marie), Aisha Jawando (Martha Reeves), Joshua Liburd (Eddie Kendricks), Simeon Montague (Jermaine Jackson), Cleopatra Rey (Gladys Knight), Brandon Lee Sears (Tito Jackson), Jordan Shaw (Stevie Wonder), Cherelle Williams (Mary Wilson).  The UK has enlisted young locals Eshan Gopal, Kwame Kandekore, and Joshua Tikare to alternate the role of Young Michael Jackson.  Additional casting includes Daniel Bailey, Edward Baruwa, Tanya Nicole Edwards, Eddie Elliott, Christopher Fry, Alex Hammond, Edward Handoll, Simon Ray Harvey, Elias Hendricks, Brian JamesLeys, Jayde Nelson, Simone Mistry Palmer, Carl Spencer and Marcel J Whyte.  Final casting will be announced shortly.

London previews begin on Feb. 11, 2016 and is set for a March 8 opening.

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