Shaftesbury Theatre – Motown

What could be the next show with Jackson songs still humming in my head?

Motown! To get even more of “ooh, baby give me one more chance” and “ABC, it’s easy as, one, two three”.



Shaftesbury Theatre is owned by the Theatre of Comedy Company, formed in 1983 by the playwright and actor Ray Cooney. Don Taffner, an American television producer joined the company in 1986 and became the majority shareholder and the chairman in 1992. Don Taffner was succeeded by his son, Donald Taffner Jnr. in 2011. The Theatre of Comedy Company is part of the DLT group, one of UK’s leading television production companies.

Shaftesbury Theatre was the last theatre to be built on Shaftesbury Avenue in 1911, and was originally named The Princes Theatre. It changed name to Shaftesbury Theatre in 1962 as part of rebranding after new management was put in place. The theatre was renovated in 1973-1974 and has been running shows non-stop since then.

Some of the handpicked highlights:

Funny Face with Fred Astaire (1928)

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell with Peter O’Toole (1991)

A Slip of the Tongue with John Malkovich (1992)



Motown tells the story of Berry Gordy (BG), the founder of the legendary records studio – Motown. The story starts in 1983 on the celebration evening of Motown Records’ 25th anniversary. In a flashback BG goes back to his childhood and remembers being inspired by American boxer Joe Louis to make people happy and proud. The story evolves into BG’s pursuit of his dream by establishing Motown in 1957, signing Smokey Robinson and discovering the Supremes. Motown records tries to erase the boundaries set by the racist society in music and everyday life and keeps signing new artists such as Michael Jackson and Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations. BG launches Diana Ross’ solo career and becomes his manager as well as love partner. Motown is doing very well, but due to BG’s attempt to expand into movie industry, disagreements with some of the best artists and fierce competition financial problems start to arise. Motown ends up losing all big artists to other studios and in financial distress. But on the evening of the 25th anniversary everyone gets together to celebrate love and music and even Berry Gordy, who was grumpy earlier in the evening joins, even though he feels deceived by those people who left him. Play ends with all the artists singing together at the celebration.



Motown is based on Berry Gordy’s autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown that premiered on Broadway in 2013.

Director:          Charles Randolph-Wright

Producers:       Nansci Neiman-Legette, Nina Lannan

Casting:           Pippa Ailion and Natalie Gallacher

020 7738 7556

Unit 67B, Eurolink Business Centre, 49 Effra Road, London, SW2 1BZ

Motown had open auditions in August for child actors.



I bought my ticket yet again at Amazon Tickets. £32.45 for the middle seat in the last row of the stalls with a very good view.

Running time is 2 hours and 30 minutes.


The Theatre Rat

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