Take a musical journey at ‘Motown Revue’ | Wide Awake
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Take a musical journey at ‘Motown Revue’

Posted on June 8, 2022

Wide Awake Wilson
Cast members for "Motown Revue" have been rehearsing for the popular show.

Contributed photo

Cast members for "Motown Revue" have been rehearsing for the popular show.

The cast of "Motown Revue" rehearses for the June 25 show.

Contributed photo

The cast of "Motown Revue" rehearses for the June 25 show.

Cast members for "Motown Revue" have been rehearsing for the popular show.

Contributed photo

Cast members for "Motown Revue" have been rehearsing for the popular show.

The cast of "Motown Revue" rehearses for the June 25 show.

Contributed photo

The cast of "Motown Revue" rehearses for the June 25 show.

The cast of "Motown Revue" rehearses for the June 25 show.
Cast members for "Motown Revue" have been rehearsing for the popular show.

Vision Community Theatre Group will celebrate its 15th anniversary with a return to the Boykin stage of its most popular production, “Motown Revue.” The show is 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25.

Boasting a powerhouse of talent, this show is one you don’t want to miss, organizers say. 

“If you saw and enjoyed the 2008 and/or 2013 productions of this show, you will want to mark your calendars for June 25,” said Toshika Johnson-Davis, creator, writer and director of the show. “If you missed the 2008 and 2013 productions, you don’t want to miss this year’s show.”

There are a few script changes this year, Johnson-Davis said.

This musical will have audience members dancing in their seats, tapping their feet and singing along to some of their old-time favorite songs as they travel down memory lane.  

Eddie Atkins, Derek Carter, Mia Harris, Chandra Batts, Thomasina Allen, Renna Mayes and Dierda Carey are returning to the show and performing favorites by Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson and Jackie Wilson. 

In the early 1960s, Motown had a road show called The Motortown Revue. It was the only record label at that time taking its artists on the road and producing a show with several acts on the bill. 

Wilson native Michael Carl “M.C.” Jackson, a vocalist/songwriter/musician, will be in the show. He has firsthand experience performing as an opening act for the Motortown Revue. While in high school he and four other guys formed a group called The Crusaders. They entered and won a talent competition at the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia. His group was awarded a recording contract with Motown Records and opened for the Motortown Revue while they were on tour in Philadelphia. They later signed with Philly Groove Records. 

“I thank God for the opportunity to work with Vision Community Theatre Group,” Jackson said. “After hearing about their production, I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy being a part of. I consider it a way to give back, have fun and an opportunity to work with other artists.”

Jackson has been traveling from Newport News, Virginia, on a weekly basis to participate in the group’s rehearsals. 

Other newcomers include Hattie Jenkins, who has sang professionally as a background vocalist with Cece Winans, Vicky Winans, Albertine Walker, Richard Smallwood and Melba Moore. Dwight Bullock has performed with the actress Jada Harris(Lady Songbirds) and sang background vocals for Ray, Goodman and Brown while in Germany. 

“My last performance was with the one and only, Cherelle,” Bullock said.

Catrese West has been touring throughout Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Her album titled “Can’t Stop Me” was released in December of 2015. The hit song “Ole School Style” as well as other singles from the album are receiving national airplay on beach and Southern soul music stations.

Other members of the cast include Louis Small Jr. portraying Berry Gordy, Tonya Artis, Freda Blackmon Bryant, Rosalyn Edwards, Tia Ward, Rayshawn Davis, Ayden Cross, Nalani Jones and Jah’Mez Moore, performing music by the Supremes, Mary Wells, The Temptations, The Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder. The cast also includes performances by Lavara Avent and Tosha Thomas. Scharlet Harris will portray Don Cornelius, and Charlie Vick Jr., will be the Apollo host for the evening, 

As in the previous productions, the musical will include a live band portraying the Funk Brothers, Motown’s session musicians. The band will be led by Dale Bryce, who has been the band director for the company’s previous productions. 

“We produced this show in 2008 and 2013 in celebration of Black Music Month,” said Johnnie “Jahni” Evans, Vision co-founder. “It has been our most popular and most requested production.”   

Tickets are available at the Wilson Arts Center and SaYum Jamaican Restaurant. Tickets can also be purchased through Cash app, VCTG$007 or from any cast or crew member.  For information, group rates or reserved seating, call 252-220-0797.

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