Kourtney Lenton (Tammi Terrell) and Jarran Muse (Marvin Pense Gaye Jr.) work earnestly to audience approval, while displaying the lives of the two Motown legends.
Photos courtesy of NewDay Entertainment.
PRIDE & JOY: The Musical
Motown Magic Makes Marvin’s Stage
Play One to Behold:
‘The Untold Love Story’
By Timothy Cox
Editor ‘n Chief
June 24, 2019
BALTIMORE, MD —
The stage play simply known as ‘Pride & Joy’ took Baltimore’s Modell Lyric theater by storm, Friday, June 14. Throngs of Marvin’s all-time fans filled the seats within
the legendary theatrical venue.
In the process of a four-night showing, a series of actors, actresses and a large group of artisans complete with musicians and dancers congregated onstage to create a spell-binding, theatrical performance in the memory of the Prince of Motown aka Marvin Pense Gaye Jr.
Credit young Chae Stephens, for his portrayal of the “seventies” Marvin Gaye, while Jarran Muse was equally astounding as the “sixties” Marvin Gaye. To their characters, add the beautifully-casted ladies who portrayed Anna Gordy Gaye, Marvin’s first wife and Tammi Terrell, his all-time love and vocal mate at Motown. After the performance, Stephens said he researched his role by reading ‘Divided Soul’ the Marvin Gaye book by David Ritz, along with studying hours of Marvin’s performances on Youtube footage.
Fortunately, the production team was allowed to utilize all 28 of the Marvin Gaye Motown song book catalougue that’s become the soundtrack of so many people’s lives, including the play’s signature song, “Pride & Joy.” A live-musician set consisting of drums, bass, two keyboards, guitar and sax were effectively led by Music Director Cordell Walton.
Walton is also currently Charlie Wilson’s MD and did a stand-up job, in presenting the musical works especially from the ’60s collection.
Unlike too many musical productions, this particular show’s music was sanctioned and legally-supported by the Marvin Gaye enterprise. In fact, the play was co-written by Marvin’s oldest son, Marvin Pense Gaye III, along with co-producers D’Extra Wiley of Atlanta and Angela Barrow-Dunlap of Detroit.
Notably, this entire production was a home-produced, Detroit situation. In speaking with merchandising manager Victoria Kirton, she noted that most of the performers were from the “D,” and she herself, formerly worked for boxing’s Kronk Boxing International, formerly headed
Chae Stephens of Atlanta, proudly played the role of Marvin Gaye, during Marvin’s 1970s career. (Photos courtesy NewDay Entertainment)
by the late boxing legend the late Emmanuel Stewart, along with ex-champion Thomas “Hitman” Hearns who trained at the world-famous boxing facility.
The two-act, 33-scene production is spear-headed by NewDay Entertainment and its owner, Quentin Perry. The production is professional and attractive for a PG-13 audience, despite Marvin’s many escapades with several women throughout the show. Overall, the event displays Marvin’s adoration for loving his ladies to his fullest – his love for Anna Gordy, for Tammi Terrell and later, his love for his second wife Jan, is a testament to the singer’s living legacy. It never displays him as a woman-beater, although it’s often said that Tammi (Montgomery) Terrell suffered from the beatings of James Brown and later David Ruffin, early in her career, prior to joining the Motown team.
As with the Motown the Musical play, which showed at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theater two years ago, this particular musical is likewise very colorful with spectacular wardrobing expertise. Credit Kelly Stubb-Lenton, that’s right, she’s Levi Stubbs’ daughter of Four Tops fame. Ms. Stubb-Lenton’s work was highly regarded throughout the evening – especially upon Marvin’s return to serenade Anna from Heaven, when the couple wore white – accompanied by the white smoke, appearing as they were on Heaven’s clouds.
Quite effective. And choreographer Tristan Andrews really showed his true talents throughout each scene. Krystal Drake (Anna Gordy Gaye), Kourtney Lenton (Tammi Terrell), Tony Grant (Harvey Fuqua), Justin Reynolds (Smokey Robinson) and Bryce Pinchum (Berry Gordy), should also be commended for presenting legitimate characterizations of their real-life characters.
For baby-boomers in the audience, the musical offered a realistic connection to our personal life’s stories. For this writer and musician, the Motown story has always been personal, considering my family has Detroit connections, and often made the Family Reunion trips to the Belle Island resort through the years.
In addition, I covered the tragic death of Marvin Gaye, as a reporter – and will never forget the impact that Marvin’s death had on America on April 2, 1984, and especially Black America. So, it’s refreshing that today, Marvin’s son had the where-with-all to create a positive look at his father’s legacy. Afterall, Marin Jr. remains age 39 in history’s chronicles.
Pride & Joy has already played Washington, DC, New York, and Baltimore. Keep watch for it to land in your city or town. It’s well worth the ticket prices and one for your all-time memories. The musical lasts about two hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission. It’s so spell-bounding, it keeps you glued to your seat, anticipating each scene’s outcome.
Chae Stephens researched Marvin Gaye’s career wholeheartedly, including hundreds of Youtube videos, he said. Here he wears the iconic leather jacket, as worn on the cover of the classic album ‘What’s Goin On’ in 1971. Photos courtesy NewDay Entertainment.)
(EDITOR’S NOTE: While it was obvious, the audience was movin’ and groovin’ in their seats to all of Marvin’s hits, it wasn’t until one particular song was played, the ladies literally screamed. That song was … you guessed it … “Let’s Get It On.”)