Motown the Musical is coming to Bristol

Motown the Musical

Motown the Musical is going on tour and will play a four-week run at The Bristol Hippodrome from Thursday 10th January until Saturday 2nd February 2019.

Meanwhile, the London production continues to play to standing ovations at the Shaftesbury Theatre. It is about to go into its third year and is currently booking until 5th January 2019.

Vivienne, the City Centre BID team’s digital marketing executive and in-house theatre buff, recently joined Steve and Nicola from The Bristol Hippodrome to watch Motown the Musical in London, getting an idea of what audiences can expect when the tour hits town.

Music lovers are in for a treat!

Motown the Musical begins and ends with Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, an Emmy Award-winning TV show celebrating the legendary record label’s silver anniversary, and takes the form of Berry Gordy’s reflections on the journey he’s taken to reach that point.

Motown the Musical

We are taken back to 22nd June 1938 to see Gordy’s reaction to Detroit boxer Joe Louis beat German Max Schmeling, a result that made Louis one of the first true African American national heroes in the United States. And left nine-year-old Gordy believing that he could do anything.

Less than 20 years later, he’s on his way, having co-written the first of Jackie Wilson’s five hit records, Reet Petite*, and bumping into Smokey Robinson and his group on a visit to Wilson’s manager’s office to sort out his royalties.

Those royalties are disappointingly low, so he borrows $800 dollars from his family to start his own company, releasing songs under several different labels to secure radio play.

By now I am already starting to lose count of the number of hits we hear and the pace continues relentlessly as we are taken through the 50s, 60s and 70s through to 1983. There are somewhere between 50 and 60 songs to get through, each one a delight to the ears. This means the story feels rather glossed over at times, but it piqued my interest enough to get me Googling several times over the next few days.

Motown the Musical

Be prepared to hear hits from The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and many more.  Be prepared also for colourful costumes, bright lights, and nifty footwork. This show is a treat for the eyes and ears.

As you watch and listen, you’ll find your feet tapping, you’ll be struggling not to sing out loud, and you’ll be overjoyed when finally the signal comes to get up and dance.

In summary, if you love music, you’ll love Motown the Musical.

Tickets on sale now from

*It amused me somewhat that while Reet Petite is being performed there is a dart board on set – a reference perhaps to the occasion when Dexy’s Midnight Runners performed their cover of Van Morrison’s homage Jackie Wilson Said on Top of the Pops, with an image of two-times world darts champion Jocky Wilson on the screen behind them.



The Temptations – Tristram Kenton
Vivienne, Steve and Nicola plus representatives from other theatres on the tour – RAW PR
The Four Tops – Tristram Kenton
The Supremes – Tristram Kenton