Ephraim Sykes (David Ruffin), Jeremy Pope (Eddie Kendricks), James Harkness (Paul Williams), Jared Joseph (Melvin Franklin), and Derrick Baskin (Otis Williams) in the world premiere of Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Photo by Carole Litwin/Berkeley Repertory Theatre
The Temptations, one of the most successful groups in music history, achieved notoriety with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s. They were known for their choreography, distinct harmonies, and flashy wardrobes and were highly influential in the evolution of R&B and soul music.
The Berkeley Repertory Theatre has mounted a new stage production, Ain’t Too Proud, an electrifying new musical about the life and times of The Temptations. This is a must-see experience.
This is unlike any Berkeley Rep production I have ever seen. This is a musical you would expect to see on Broadway.
The cast, the singing, the incredible choreography, the costumes, and the orchestra are simply amazing.
Ain’t Too Proud brings to life the story of five young guys on the streets of Detroit who were discovered by Berry Gordy, Motown Records. It tells their story from their point of view – how they met, their struggles, the obstacles they overcame, their highs and lows, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the nation fell into civil unrest.
Dominique Morisseau, the Kennedy Prize-winning playwright from Detroit, created this musical version of Otis Williams’ story about the groups history. Otis is the last surviving member of the “Classic Five” Temptations.
Dominique commented about how she chose what parts of their story to tell. She said, “We have to question how artists do or do not get involved in what’s happening in the social conversation. I also think about how you make your art without upsetting your community, how to keep love in your life. That’s where the story sits for me.”
Ain’t Too Proud is a story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal. Iconic hits like “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” are combined with the signature dance moves that made the “Classic Five” Temptations an everlasting part of our cultural history.
“My Girl” was the Temptations’ first number-one hit in 1964. It climbed to the top of the U.S. pop charts. The Temptations were the first Motown act to earn a Grammy.
The Temptations continue to perform with one original member, Otis Williams, still in the lineup.