Home Celebrity “Motown” Musical Will Start National Tour in Chicago, Not Bankrupt Hometown Detroit

I think Chicago is referred to as Chi-town, not Motown. But “Motown: The Musical” will start its national tour in Chicago next April and not in its bankrupt hometown. A casting call went out this morning for all the main characters from “Motown” from Berry Gordy and Diana Ross to Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder.

An open call will be held here in New York on September 13th at the Lunt Fontanne Theater and another in Chicago on September 14th. Open calls rarely produce unknown superstars but they’re very good for publicity. Think of local news crews roaming up and down lines of little Michaels and tuxedo’d Marvins.

The announcement of the national tour starting in Chicago was actually made to the theater press right before the Tony Awards and well before Detroit announced its bankruptcy. But starting the national tour in Detroit would have been a significant boost to a depressed city. There’s hope that Detroit will be the second stop on the tour. Many Motown original performers still live in Detroit and all of them have their roots in the Motor city.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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