On Thursday, February 9 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall presents A Tribute to the Music of Motown—a program that pays homage to the distinctive soul sound that struck a lasting chord in American popular culture and celebrates the famed record label’s over 50-year legacy. The event, hosted by CNN journalist Soledad O’Brien, will include performances by a host of notable artists—some of whom were a part of Motown’s golden era, and others whose music reflects the label’s lasting influence. In addition, performers will celebrate Motown founder, Berry Gordy, as well as pay tribute to Nickolas Ashford—of the famed songwriting team Ashford and Simpson--one of the label’s most successful songwriters.
Featured artists include: legendary recording artist Dionne Warwick, singer and former member of Motown’s Martha Reeves and the Vandellas Martha Reeves, R&B vocal trio Boyz II Men, musician and composer Paul Shaffer, and gospel singer BeBe Winans performing a tribute to Nickolas Ashford, with more surprise guest artists to be announced. Ray Chew, current musical director of FOX’s American Idol, serves as the musical director for the evening, which he calls a true tribute in celebration of the music, with original arrangements for all of the classic hits, including: “Reach Out And Touch,” “Ain't No Mountain High Enough,” and “Dancin' In The Street.” Of the music’s longevity, Chew notes, “A lot of people forget that it’s been decades since we had all those great hits, but they have lasted throughout generations because of the total weight of the artistic measure that they had. These weren’t just songs. They had messages of the time. They had great artists delivering them... A hundred years from now, people will still be listening to Motown.” A Tribute to the Music of Motown is the second performance produced by Chew Entertainment with Ray Chew and his wife and business partner, Vivian Scott Chew. The couple, in partnership with Carnegie Hall, produced the sold-out gospel extravaganza A Night of Inspiration in 2010.
Motown was founded by Berry Gordy, Jr., on January 12, 1959, and quickly lived up to the “Hitsville U.S.A.” sign that hung above the front windows of its modest Detroit headquarters. The company’s incredible team of writers, producers, studio musicians, and the large number of chart-topping artists—Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, among others—all helped to craft what would come to be known as the Motown Sound. Throughout the ’60s, Motown produced a catalog of songs that includes: “You've Really Got a Hold On Me,” "Heat Wave,” “Dancing in the Street,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” “My Guy,” “My Girl,” “Baby Love,” “Reach Out, I'll Be There,” “I Can't Help Myself,” “Get Ready,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” among many others. With nearly 200 number one songs worldwide, Motown’s hits continue to appear worldwide in commercials, TV shows, and movies and remain an influence on today’s biggest pop and R&B stars. In addition to its timeless hit songs, Motown’s legacy reflects the hard work of dedicated individuals overcoming incredible obstacles to achieve great success. Berry Gordy Jr., a young African American man, founded Motown Records with a loan of $800 from his family and through determination and support of the Motown family of artists, forged new grounds for minorities and made the “Motown Sound” a worldwide phenomenon adored by millions.
Revered as a true musical professional and beloved by countless entertainers, Ray Chew has been at the helm of award-winning live and televised musical events, and has performed with a seemingly endless list of genre-crossing artists including Sting, James Taylor, The Four Tops, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Costello, Smokey Robinson, Shirley Caesar, Kirk Franklin, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Quincy Jones, among others. Chew has served as Musical Director for network television series, including: NBC’s The Singing Bee, Showtime at the Apollo, BET’s Sunday Best, and currently for the Emmy Award-winning FOX series, American Idol. He also served as musical director for the historic Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama danced to a rendition of “At Last” sung by Beyoncé Knowles, as well as for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. During Carnegie Hall’s 2008–2009 season, Chew led two performances during the citywide festival Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy—including the opening night concert Honor: Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Soul, And Beyond. In 2010, he returned to Carnegie Hall presenting the gospel extravaganza A Night of Inspiration.
Thursday, February 9 at 8:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage
A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF MOTOWN
Ray Chew, Musical Director
Boyz II Men
Soledad O'Brien, Host
Additional artists to be announced
Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
Tickets, priced from $30—$80, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.
For Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.
In addition, for all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.
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BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND "THE ROBERTO CLEMENTE STORY"
STARRING : MODESTO LACEN
February 14 – April 8
47th Street Theatre
304 West 47th Street, New York
With a Best Actor award for his portrayal of baseball great Roberto Clemente and a meaty role in a new soap opera that premieres today, actor Modesto Lacen is landing the types of roles that many actors long for.
In the Telemundo soap opera, “Relaciones Peligrosas (Dangerous Relationships),” Lacen takes on the role of Bertrand DuPont, a Haitian father and businessman who faces some tough obstacles. “In this show, I play a father whose son is being bullied at school. I’m going to be handling that issue but we will also deal with issues of racism and prejudice. We hope to show how people can take care of their issues and overcome them and be an example of dignity.”
In the off-Broadway play “The Roberto Clemente Story,” Lacen plays the Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder who, in 1960, became the first Hispanic baseball player to win a World Series as a starter. The play, which Lacen says has received “really good responses from audiences and critics,” begins a limited off-Broadway engagement on February 14 and runs through April 8.
Lacen, who, like Clemente, is Black and Puerto Rican, says it’s an honor to portray such an icon. “Growing up in my house he was someone we always looked up to,” he says. “Besides being a great baseball player he was a great example for Puerto Ricans, specifically Black Puerto Ricans. This is a way for me to pay homage to a great man and his legacy.” Lacen won an ACE Best Actor award for his role in the play, which garnered six awards total. He has also received an ATI nomination for his work.
The play is tentatively slated to tour Pittsburgh, Orlando, Miami, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua. For show times and ticket information, visit www.teatrosea.org.
A native of Loiza, Puerto Rico with some 20 films and numerous TV shows to his credit, Lacen says it’s important for him to take on meaningful roles. “I became an actor not for the fame or the money. Acting is my calling. It is very important for me to invest my energy in