By Kharisma McIlwaine
Left to proper: Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Jalen Harris, Michael Andreaus, Harrell Holmes Jr., E. Clayton Cornelious
Picture credit score: The nationwide tour of Ain’t Too Proud 2023 Emilio Madrid.
The Temptations are one of the beloved teams of all time. With 42 top-ten hits and 14 number-one hit songs, The Temptations have supplied the soundtrack of many lives for over 50 years.
The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Occasions of The Temptations,” written by Kennedy Prize-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, and directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff, premiered on Broadway in March 2019. The musical tells the group’s story, from a humble begin in Detroit to incomes their place within the Rock & Roll Corridor of Fame.
As a part of the nationwide tour, Philadelphia welcomes “Ain’t Too Proud” to The Kimmel Cultural Campus for the primary time. Within the musical, Michael Andreaus takes on the position of Otis Williams, dwelling legend and founding member of The Temptations. Andreaus spoke with the SUN about his journey in musical theater and the highway to changing into a Temptation.
Impressed by his mom’s love for music, Andreaus discovered his calling.
“She used to play music in the home on a regular basis,” he stated. “I believe the primary artist that I bear in mind recognizing that I simply beloved was Michael Jackson, adopted later by my favourite artist of all time, which is Stevie Surprise. Motown and music was so formative for me in my youthful years. Then I began singing at church and ultimately form of found musical theater once I noticed “Dreamgirls” within the theater for the primary time. That was the primary time I noticed [myself] on this business. One thing clicked in me and I used to be, like, ‘That’s it… that’s the factor I need to do.’”
Model new to auditioning with heaps to study, Andreaus discovered himself emersed in a full circle second, beginning his musical theater journey the place his inspiration first started.
“It form of got here full circle as a result of the primary musical theater job that I received was “Dreamgirls.” I went and auditioned at a group theater,” he stated. “I had no clue what I used to be doing. You’re speculated to have a guide of songs and all these issues. I believe I sang a gospel tune a cappella with no sheet music however ended up getting forged as Curtis. The gentleman who would ultimately persuade me to return to highschool for musical theater noticed me in that. In a while, down the highway, he invited me to audition for College of Central Oklahoma, the place I received my diploma.”
Following commencement, Andreaus moved to New York and hit the bottom auditioning. Regardless of the pandemic shutting down life as we all know it, he discovered himself precisely the place he wanted to be.
“I had my first off-Broadway present, then my first Broadway present, after which the pandemic occurred and shut all the things down,” he stated. “My momentum was destroyed, or so I assumed. I had simply gotten to New York, actually making strikes, and getting forged in a bunch of issues, and [then] the entire world shut down. Then not too lengthy after that, I booked “Ain’t Too Proud.” Initially, I used to be forged as Berry Gordy protecting Otis. I did that for a couple of 12 months earlier than they moved me into the position of Otis full time. In truth, once I begin in Philadelphia, will probably be a 12 months since I took over, so it’ll be form of particular for me in that method, too. It’s unbelievable. It was actually humbling, as a result of I noticed the present and fell in love with the present earlier than I ever was forged in it. After I was auditioning to be within the present, I used to be going and seeing the present on Broadway to get a really feel for it, but additionally as a result of it’s such an amazing present. It has been much more rewarding getting the chance to do that present on tour as a result of we’re attending to carry this music to so many individuals.”
Along with the basic music of The Temptations, which spans generations and demographics, audiences may even expertise the various obstacles the group endured on their method to success.
“What folks usually come to us and say is how a lot they respect the story that we’re telling,” Andreaus stated. “The music is, in fact, the music. It’s at all times going to be what it’s — timeless and basic. While you’re doing “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” each evening and “Simply My Creativeness” and “My Lady,” you virtually need to attempt to mess them up, actually. We have now such an amazing forged — that’s not going to occur!”
The Temptations will not be solely recognized for the unbelievable concord laid seamlessly all through their basic hits, they’re additionally recognized for his or her choreography. “Ain’t Too Proud” brings these steps to life.
“That was in all probability probably the most difficult facet in all of this for me,” Andreaus stated. “I’m undoubtedly what they name a mover in musical theater, however we’ve got such an amazing staff. Sergio Trujillo is our choreographer. Edgar Godineaux was the assistant who actually form of helped us put that Temptations polish on all of it. We had a boot camp the place we basically needed to learn to carry ourselves, the best way to stroll… it’s important to learn to be a Temptation. There’s a sure swagger that it’s important to carry your self with. The choreography gained a Tony for a purpose… it’s not for the faint of coronary heart!”
“The factor that we feature that additionally made The Temptations nice in that world are the intricacies, the little nuances that you simply put into it and the way locked in as a bunch. That’s the factor that makes this so nice to carry out each evening. What folks actually reply to isn’t essentially 5 people, however 5 folks which are dancing and transferring as one.”
In “Ain’t Too Proud,” Andreaus balances twin roles as Otis and the narrator with allure, humor and ease. He was gifted the chance to work with Williams, getting first-hand accounts of his expertise with The Temptations.
“We get to inform this superb story, of this group of fellows that got here collectively at a time that didn’t need to at all times see them need to succeed, however they fought by,” Andreaus stated. “Often while you lose a star like David Ruffin out of your group, it’s accomplished. It was such a calling for Otis for this group to succeed and be as nice as they are often, he actually didn’t let something cease them from changing into what they turned. If that meant changing somebody within the group, then it [was] time to interchange them… no matter it took. That drive and that zeal [is what] I attempt to carry with me each time I step into his footwear. It’s fairly a job, as a result of I’m the narrator of the present in addition to being considered one of The Temptations.
The story is informed from his reminiscence. It’s lots, but it surely’s undoubtedly price it. The truth that he’s been so beneficiant and giving together with his time has been actually instrumental for us having the ability to inform the story in such an genuine method. We’re at all times grateful when “Uncle O” comes round and is ready to share with us.”
In “Ain’t Too Proud,” audiences will get a big dose of music, dance, brotherhood and laughter, however the largest take away from this present is the center.
“There’s an enormous theme across the present of sacrifice,” Andreaus stated. “The whole present is Otis asking the viewers if the issues that they achieved have been definitely worth the issues that have been misplaced alongside the way in which. I believe it’s a very fascinating alternative for the viewers to take a look at their very own journey and their very own accomplishments and achievements and weigh all of that within the steadiness. We don’t ever reply the query for you, however my hope is that everyone will look. If the reply is “sure,” be pleased with the place you might be, and if the reply is “no,” [ask yourself,] ‘What do I have to do to alter my path? All of us have to decide on what we’re keen to surrender, and hope that in the long run it’s all price it.”
To help Michael Andreaus’ journey, observe him on IG @michael_andreaus or go to: www.michaelandreaus.com. “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Occasions of The Temptations” shall be on The Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Academy of Music till January 21. For extra data on tickets and showtimes, go to: www.kimmelculturalcampus.org.