The Marvin Gaye Story Review -Black Ensemble Theater Tells The Marvin Gaye Story (Don’t Talk About My Father Because God is My Friend) – A Motown Legend

The Black Ensemble Theater continues its 40th anniversary season with The Marvin Gaye Story ((Don’t Talk About My Father Because God is My Friend) written by Jackie Taylor and directed by Daryl D. Brooks. The Marvin Gaye Story can be seen at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center June 12 through July 10, 2016.

Rashawn Thompson as Marvin Gaye and ensemble

The Marvin Gaye Story was the first World Premiere produced at the new Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, which opened in 2011,” Taylor said. “When first developing the show, I conducted extensive research, which included working with Jan Gaye (Marvin’s second wife and mother to his two children Nona and Frankie) who helped me give attention to his story with honor and accuracy.”

Rashawn Thompson as Marvin Gaye

Considered to be one of the greatest talents to come out of Motown, The Marvin Gaye Story follows Gaye’s success and struggles through his life in the music industry. Rashawn Thompson does a phenomenal job portraying Gaye. Thompson and the other ensemble members work together to bring back the spirit of the “Prince of Soul” with this musical journey.

Gaye performing solo for Smokie Robinson played by Kyle Smith

The theater made it easy for audience members to feel as if they were the audience at a real Gaye concert or sitting in with him and the musicians during a studio session. At one point, while singing “Sexual Healing” Thompson walked into the crowd and serenaded a couple of willing fans. He even invited one lucky audience member on stage to share a dance with him.

Gaye and Melanie McCullough as Tammi Terrell singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

Gaye began his sound with Doo Wop in the 50s, Rhythm and Blues in the 60s, political awareness in the 70s and sophisticated soul in the 80s. Some of his greatest hits featured in the show include: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” featuring Tammi Terrell (Melanie McCullough), “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” “You’re All I Need to Get By,” “What’s Goin On” and “Let’s Get it On.” The band, under the direction of Robert Reddrick, will have you clapping along in your seats.

Gaye struggled with depression and drug addiction throughout most of his life

Gaye was plagued with depression and drug addiction along with a toxic relationship with his father. That rocky relationship between him and his father led to tragedy when on April 1, 1984, Marvin Gaye Sr. (Henri Watkins) shot and killed his son.

Rashawn Thompson as Marvin Gaye

Founded in 1976 by producer, playwright and actress Jackie Taylor, Black Ensemble Theater is the only African American theater located in the culturally, racially and ethnically diverse north side Uptown community. The Theater entertains audiences from near and far with original musicals that are entertaining, educational and uplifting. The Theater has produced more than 100 productions and employed over 5,000 artists. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit The Black Ensemble Theater here or call 773.769.4451.

 

Photos by Danny Nicholas 

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