Tony Award winning Broadway show Ain’t Too Proud is coming to Calgary this September
Ain’t Too Proud tells the story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal
Ain’t Too Proud was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and the winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography // Photo Credit Emilio Madrid
An electrifying Broadway based on the true story of the American vocal group The Temptations is coming to Calgary’s Jubilee Auditorium from Sept. 19 to 24. Nominated for 12 Tony Awards and the winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography, Ain’t Too Proud tells the story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal. The national show will have audiences dancing in their seats and singing along to one of Motown Records’ most successful groups. We caught up with Michael Andreaus, who plays Otis Williams, to learn more about the show and what Calgarians can expect.
Tell me about Ain't Too Proud and why it's a unique show compared to other Broadway shows.
I think the thing that really sets this show apart is the book. It's got a wonderful book that tells the story of The Temptations from the perspective of Otis Williams, which is the part that I play. It gives the audience the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and really see what the lives of these men were like. In addition to the great music, I think that's the thing that sets this show apart. The audience comes out of the show saying they came to hear the music and see the moves, but they really leave with an appreciation of who The Temptations were and the struggles that they overcame in order to become one of the top groups of all time.
One other thing I love about the show that makes it unique is the fact that I as Otis get to address the audience directly. That's something that you don’t often get to do in theatre. Usually, there's the fourth wall that you always have to respect, but I get to talk to people. We like reactions, we like when people react back to us, and there's kind of a call-and-response element to the show. It makes it much more engaging for the audience when they have to respond. I would say just come ready to have a good time and come ready to be vocal. We love the show and hopefully, that just bleeds over into the audience, and everybody just has a great time while they're there.
Tell me about your character, Otis, and how you personally relate to him.
One of the ways that I most relate to him, is that one of the central themes of the show is sacrifice. One of the questions that we ask the audience is whether the things the group had to sacrifice were worth what the group eventually became. I relate to that personally right now because being on the road can be a sacrifice at times. You can't always be around your friends and family, and you can't always be in the places where you're comfortable. You're in a different hotel room every week. So, there’s things that you're giving up.
What are some of the emotions that will be evoked in the audience from the show?
All of them. Every single one of them. You're going to laugh. You're going to cry. There's going to be parts where you're angry. It really does run the whole gamut. It's an entire experience and of course, the music is going to have you dancing in your seat and moving along and singing along with all these great songs. There isn't an emotion I feel like we don't touch on in this show. I think we go through it all but in the end, we really hope that you leave inspired and happy and with an appreciation of what it takes to make a group like this.
What would you say are some of the key messages that the audience should be listening for while they're watching the show?
Like I said, sacrifice is a big one. When we as the general public see a big super group like this, we get to see all the headlines and see even more of it now through social media and things like that. But a show like this really gives you a chance to see what happens in between those headlines and the events that lead to those things like people leaving the group or being replaced or where song inspiration came from or why a group might change their songwriter.
One of the other things that I hope people pick up on is the Brotherhood that these men carried with them. I'm really grateful that’s one thing that I don't have to act on stage. I really feel like we, especially the five of us who played the original Temptations, have developed a real brotherhood. We really are friends, we hang out and the things that we get to do on stage together, that’s not acting, that's just us being who we are off stage. I hope people come away from it really getting a sense of what these guys meant to each other and the lengths they were willing to go to in order to become the number one group and Motown's history, and a lot of people say the number one R&B group in the world.
Tell me about the cast and crew and what working on the show has been like for you all.
It's really been a dream, I've been with the show from the very beginning when I first was cast. I played Barry Gordy and covered Otis. I've been with it from the initial rehearsals all the way through to where we are now, and plan on being with it until our last scheduled show which is in March. There's just been a sense of family and belonging ever since we first stepped in those first rooms together. This crew is amazing, all the way from our director and choreographer down to the locals who come in every week in different locations and help us with set pieces, costumes, and hair.
It's been unlike anything that I've ever been a part of. It was my first national tour, but I've been I've been a part of a lot of cast and crews over the years. It's such a tight-knit group and everybody just worked so hard for this show to be successful because we all believe in it so much. We believe in the story that we're telling. We believe that this is a story that needs to be seen and heard by people. Everybody just works together so well and it really makes it easy to go to work every day.