Arts & Culture

'Motown: The Musical' opens in Tampa

If you're interested in seeing a show titled "Motown: The Musical," you're probably interested in hearing a lot of great songs. And that's exactly what the show delivers.

The Tony-nominated jukebox musical features an astounding 66 songs (although a lot of them reportedly are just fragments of hits), almost all performed by actors portraying such stars as the Supremes, the Temptations, the Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye and many others.

The show is coming to Tampa for a six-day run at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts beginning March 17.

As glorious as the music is, the criticism of "Motown: The Musical" has always been that it's so crammed with songs that there's little room for a narrative. And the story, about how Berry Gordy Jr. created a sound and formed an empire that helped define its era, is a fascinating one. (Berry himself wrote the book for the musical, as well as some of the music and lyrics from the Motown hits.)

The show ran on Broadway for nearly two years, so apparently audiences thought the greatness of the music outweighed any deficiencies in the story.

Details: March 17-22, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m.Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $80-$153.50 plus service charge. Information: 813-229-7827,

-- Marty Clear