This review is published through a partnership with Flint Area Theaters.
Flint, MI–“Those Dazzling Divas of Motown,” written by Charles H. Winfrey, directed and choreographed by Cathye Johnson, and performed by a splendidly varied and talented ensemble, delighted an appreciative and welcoming group of devotees and those newly introduced to the wonders of Motown at The “New” McCree Theatre. This is a must-see Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. thru October 9 in their new facility at 4601 Clio Rd, just south of Pierson.
There is a wonderful blend of expositional skits, narrative, and music put together to entertain, amuse, and educate. It’s fun to take a peek behind the curtain to understand the drive of the performers and performances. I’m ready for Motown trivia!!
There are challenges for the theatre, in general, in converting a church to a theatre space. The seats are amazing and comfortable. Being the girl who always likes to sit near the back, and given the dynamic opening, I thought for sure folks would spend the show on their feet. I did!
Divas who left a definite design on my brain last night were Whitney Frierson easing her pain singing “Every Little Bit Hurts,” and I absolutely believed Kimberly Harris’ declaration of “Neither One of Us (wants to be the first to say ‘goodbye’).” It was the perfect song leading to intermission. None of us wanted to say “goodbye” to this night just yet.
The second act brought a new flavor to the evening and a bit more humor with a fabulous impersonation by DaChelle “Lady D” McDonald. No spoilers. She is delectable. I was wowed by her performance of “Abraham, Martin, and John,” which she sang with conviction and purpose.
More noteworthy performances include a heartfelt plea from Emma Dunlap to “Reach Out and Touch,” to which several in the audience were moved to lift their voices. It was special. And we all “Heard it Through the Grapevine” when Yonna Mittz rocked out that gossip with amazing clarity. Stand and deliver.
Completing this composition is “Dude Diva” Fredrick Fife. Fife ensures the knowledge and wonder of the most popular duets of Motown and Marvin Gaye are known and remembered with reverence.
Choreography was fun and had additional assistance from Brenda Glasschild and Fife. While it was not a constant companion, dances enhanced performances in many group numbers. Costumes were also inventive and effective, brought together by Pat Hill and Fife, accessorized by Cheryl Wright, and the crowning glory of cosmetologist Sharon Butler. These elements tied the talent together in a neat Motown package.
Kudos to the crew and all the unseen wizards. Plus, where would we be without the upstage center swing cats backing every dynamic performance? Music director and keyboardist Phillip Young assembled a skillful and gifted group.
Head on out and enjoy a wonderful evening down memory lane. Thru October 9 at The “New” McCree Theatre—now, on Clio Rd. It’s not a “Needle in a Haystack”…it’s right on Clio Rd between Stewart and Pierson.
For more information contact online at http://www.thenewmccreetheatre.com/ or call 810-787-2200.