Memorable moments will gain energy and lyrical insight with a cast flaunting the stuff that Motown & Mo’ is known for.
The best of Motown includes R&B, doo-wop, hip hop and jazz.
It’s a showstopper for performances at Flagler Auditorium and among the year’s highest achievements to arrive on the sound stage of the auditorium.
The show has gotten rave reviews from the community.
Some of the commentators announcing the smash hits have been Cynthia Black, Stacy Simpson, Donna Gray Banks, Jarred Armstrong and the late Willard Anderson.
I caught up with the cast in production at the Columbia Club, where new and veteran performers were turning back time with the Motown vocals and beyond.
“I’ve been in the show since the original Motown,” said Donna Decina. “I’ve been there since Day 1, and I love it.
“I don’t look at the walls anymore. I look at the people’s faces,” she said emphatically. “And, I think what works with us is that we start with prayer and end with prayer.
“Every year, I wear more shinier outfits,” she added.
After 10 seasons as director, the show’s creator – the late Carlos Ann Butler – retired.
Motown & Mo’ switched hands and became a City Lites production.
But, in April 2016, Carlos presented “Reunited,” the Motown reunion, bringing the original cast to the stage.
Carlos unexpectedly passed away Sept. 18, 2016.
She introduced the performances the performances in 1998, just like the throwbacks of yesteryears when New York Gov. George Pataki, then the Peekskill mayor, commissioned Carlos to present the show to the Town of Peekskill.
Carlos, an educator, would take the Black culture club on a cruise by fundraising with this type of venue.
Alston joins cast
Interviewing a Motown newcomer, I asked:
“Give me your name.”
“My name is Isaiah Alston.”
“Do you have a famous dad?”
“Yes. My father’s name is Stanley Alston.’’
“Is this your first year on board with Motown?”
“Yes,” he answered. “I did a Christmas show and a spring show with my friend, Luci Gillis, when we were in “A Taste of Broadway.’’’ Luci then inquired whether he would have an interest in trying out for Motown & Mo,’ wherein Isaiah’s reply was in the affirmative.
“And everything else is part of the stage performance,” Isaiah added, “the music and trying to work on the steps.”
Moreover, singer Stanley Alston used his vocal chords with lead singer the late Cuba Gooding Sr., of the Main Ingredient, and who was famous for the 1972 single, “Everybody Plays the Fool.”
Veteran performer Donna Decina will turn back time with the Motown vocals.
Showtimes: Oct. 18, 19
Artists who have graced the stage for the performances of Motown & Mo’ are the Temptations, Patti LaBelle, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, Whitney Houston, and others.
The cast impersonators usher in lip-sync to music, choreography, costume design, glittering stage makeup, as well as stage presence, to perform the oldies but goodies.
In a 2017 interview regarding the cast, James L. Sims, director and City Lites president, said, “They work hard. They are local people that you see every day at the post office, the doctor’s office, at Walmart. We walk among you, but we all come together for a common cause to support children.”
City Lites, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, awards scholarships to graduating seniors transitioning into college and pursuing careers in the performing arts.
Don’t miss this show, which will journey through time, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.; and Oct. 19, 5 p.m. The group rate for a 10-person minimum is $20 per person.
The ticket price is $25.
The tickets can be purchased at Flagler Auditorium’s box office, 5500 East Highway 100, Palm Coast, or call 386-437-7547, or toll-free, 1-866-352-4537.
Remember that Motown & Mo’ is a non-profit scholarship fundraiser.
Newcomer Isaiah Alston’s reply was in the affirmative for trying out for Motown & Mo.’
As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.
Birthday wishes to George Weaver, Oct. 3; Vivian Richardson, Dr. Herman Price, Oct. 5; James L. Sims, Oct. 7; Clifford Josey, Oct. 8; and Kilus White Jr., Oct. 9.