Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations

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<p>(l to r) Christian Thompson (Smokey Robinson), Ephraim Sykes (David Ruffin), Jared Joseph (Melvin Franklin), Derrick Baskin (Otis Williams), Jeremy Pope (Eddie Kendricks), and James Harkness (Paul Williams) in the world premiere of Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. </p>

(l to r) Christian Thompson (Smokey Robinson), Ephraim Sykes (David Ruffin), Jared Joseph (Melvin Franklin), Derrick Baskin (Otis Williams), Jeremy Pope (Eddie Kendricks), and James Harkness (Paul Williams) in the world premiere of Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

by Carole Litwin/Berkeley Repertory Theatre © Berkeley Repertory Theatre

I grew up with The Temptations and knew a lot of the music and a little of the history of the Temps, the “greatest group in all R & B” and Motown.

Opening night at The Berkeley Rep with the sole surviving ‘Classic 5′ Temp, Otis Williams, in the house along with long-time manager Shelly Berger and the great actor and activist, Delroy Lindo in the audience watching and enjoying was a treat that should be partaken by all music lovers and all history lovers.

Brilliant book by Dominique Morisseau based on Otis’ autobiography The Temptations with Patricia Romanowski.

Superb cast, set, scenes, choreography, sound, orchestration, direction and band.

Yes, spoiler alert, so read after you see the show. Here are 10 things I learned from Ain’t Too proud–The Life and Times of the Temptations:

Over the years there were 24 Temps.

I didn’t realize what a prolific songwriter Norman J. Whitfield was.

Although the Classic 5 were formed in Detroit where they grew up, they were from Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi.

The original name was The Elgins then Otis Williams & the Distants.

They still perform today with Otis Williams as one of the 5.

They were the first Motown group to win a Grammy.

It was their 25th song released that was a hit.

When ‘Classic 5’ Paul Williams was too sick to perform, he would lip-sync and Richard Street would sing his part live off-stage.

Paul Williams committed suicide in 1973.

Coincidentally the father of one of the Temps did die on the third of September as unwittingly written by Norman Whitfield in Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.

Peace, love, joy, gratitude, faith, courage, compassion, and blessings.

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