A new musical about iconic group The Temptations just hit Broadway, and the show’s cast spoke to ESSENCE about how Ain’t Too Proud shares even more about the beloved group we think we already know.
“It really does well at humanizing these men that we look to as icons, as legends,” star Ephraim Sykes, who plays David Ruffin, said last month on the show’s opening night.
“Sometimes we miss out on the realness of their lives: their hearts, their demons, their downfalls, things that make us all a little bit more human and makes us be able to connect with each other a little more,” he continued. “It’s about love. It’s about God. It’s about brotherhood. It’s a timely piece.”
Along with Sykes, the onstage version of The Temptations is made up of Derrick Baskin, James Harkness, Jawan M. Jackson, and Jeremy Pope, who wowed audiences in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy.
The quintet does such a fantastic job singing The Temptations’ hits, including “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me),” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Along with giving context to some of the world’s most iconic sounds, the men manage to capture the essence of the soul group, so much so you might do a double take to ensure you’re not looking at the men themselves.
Otis Williams, one of the founding members of The Temptations and an executive producer of the musical was also on hand on Opening Night, sharing that the musical is so much more than the music.
“There’s more to it than just songs. It’s about history, it’s about what we went through. It’s not all about the glamour and the spotlight, it’s about some of the things we lived through as far as racial tension,” he said. “It’s a lot more than just ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.'”
Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations, is currently showing at the Imperial Theatre.