Broadway's 'ain't too proud' brings the Temptations' music to life

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The Temptations have sold tens of millions of albums, and their music stands the test of time.

The group still performs more than half a century after they came together, even though only one of the original members is still alive.

Now, their legacy comes alive on a Broadway stage thanks to performers who weren't even born yet when the Temptations first reached the top of the charts.

The new show, "ain't too proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations," takes its title from one of the group's many big hits. The actual line is, "Ain't too proud to beg, sweet darling!"

This is what is called a "jukebox musical," because there are enough tunes performed in the course of the show -- 30 in all -- to fill an old jukebox and serve as a reminder of just how many great songs the Temptations recorded, including hits like, "My Girl," "Cloud Nine," You're My Everything," "Get Ready," and so many more.

"ain't too proud" is a reminder of how Motown music can instantly recall for me long-ago summers when romance was in the air and so much seemed right with the world.

Diana Ross and the Supremes make a cameo appearance, and the role Smokey Robinson played in writing and producing their early hits is clear.

The man who built Motown Records, Berry Gordy, is a presence on stage, but the story is told through the eyes of Otis Williams -- who is the only surviving member of the original group. The musical is based on his autobiography, but the other lead singers get their due.

For all the joy in their music, the Temptations had more than their share of tragedy to go along with their triumphs. They are noted here just enough for the show to be called honest, without dimming its exuberance.

Broadway shows are expensive, but there are enough great tunes performed well enough and packed into two and a half hours that I can recommend "ain't too proud."

I left feeling happy, joyous, and free, which is more than I can say about most of what I have to see.

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