The Pure Life Theatre Company’s production of Nate Jacobs’ A Motown Christmas, directed by Deb Royals, with music direction by Ronzell Bell, opened last night at the new Pure Life Theatre (the Historic Royal Bakery Building) on Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, NC, to a joyous sellout crowd. The show runs at this location through Sunday, Dec. 22nd and then moves to the Cary Arts Center from Friday, Dec. 27th, through Sunday, Dec. 29th. This is a wonderful show that will bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.
The talented cast of a dozen singers gives a powerful performance of more than 40 hits from the Motown catalog, mixing in both holiday classics and classic R&am;B songs. The cabaret-style performance is backed by a solid eight-piece band. There are no gaps in the flow of dizzying dances and beautiful harmonies. All the smoothly and elegantly costumed performers provide brilliant energy and smiles throughout the show.
The show begins with a handful of holiday tunes and then rolls through a lengthy retrospective of Motown hits in the style of artists and groups such as The Supremes, The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. As you can imagine, the audience was fully engaged.
The troupe continued with a series of Christmas classics in a variety of styles. Some were humorous and some were heartwarming, but all kept the audience enthralled. There was a 15-minute intermission at this point. I believe the audience needed the rest even more than the performers.
The shorter second act was more soulful than the upbeat first act. Here, the vocal talents of the cast were on display. Maria Barber sang a remarkable rendition of “O Holy Night” and Nicole Fuqua and Rodney Martin sang a wonderful duet of “Mary, Did You Know?” The dancing, choreographed by Aya Wallace and local pageant queen Chanda Branch, was integrated beautifully into the songs.
There are a small number of tickets still available at Pure Life Theatre and many available for the second weekend at the Cary Arts Center, which is a larger venue. I cannot recommend this show highly enough. You are sure to be clapping and stomping your feet. This would be a wonderful holiday gift for the entire family.
The Pure Life Theatre Company presents Nate Jacobs’ A MOTOWN CHRISTMAS at 3 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21 and 3 p.m. Dec. 22 in the Pure Life Theatre (the Historic Royal Bakery Building), 3801 Hillsborough St., Suite 113, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606; and at 8 p.m. Dec. 27 and 28 and 3 p.m. Dec. 29 at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave., Cary, North Carolina 27511.
TICKETS: $27 ($24 children and students, seniors 55+, and active-duty military personnel), except $22 per person for groups of 10 or more.
BOX OFFICE: https://www.purelifetheatre.com/buy-tickets, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-motown-christmas-tickets-81403017617 (Raleigh), and https://www.etix.com/ (Cary).
INFORMATION: 919-272-1551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHOW: https://www.purelifetheatre.com/buy-tickets, https://www.facebook.com/events/844638169283789/ (Raleigh), and https://www.townofcary.org/recreation-enjoyment/events/holiday-events/a-motown-christmas (Cary).
PRESENTER: https://www.purelifetheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/purelifetheatre/, and https://www.instagram.com/purelifetheatre/.
Pure Life Theatre: https://www.purelifetheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/purelifetheatre/, and https://www.instagram.com/purelifetheatre/ (map/directions: https://www.google.com/maps/).
Cary Arts Center: https://www.townofcary.org/recreation-enjoyment/facilities/cary-arts-center and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cary-Arts-Center/235735853122351 (map/directions: https://www.google.com/maps/ and parking: https://www.townofcary.org/home/showdocument?id=7187).
Robert O’Connell is new to the Triangle, but not to the stage. As a playwright, he has had dozens of productions and awards throughout the world. He has an MS degree in Management Systems Analysis. A lifelong educator, O’Connell has also published three novels at http://www.flashmobthenovel.com/ and two humor anthologies from his blog, https://thesmartestguyiknow.wordpress.com/. He and his wife have settled in Cary, NC. Click here to read his reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.