THOUGHTS: Ain’t Too Proud at Berkeley Rep

Derrick Baskin as Otis Williams

Derrick Baskin (Otis Williams) in the world premiere of Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Many musical theater lovers and artists (this one included) groan at the thought of jukebox musicals. The jukebox musical is most basic of musical theater genres. The songs are recycled, usually recognizable, and presumably already hits. The characters are either tropes, or characters you already know (the original artists themselves). In essence, jukebox musicals can be guaranteed cash cows for producers exploiting nostalgia. I’ve only seen two other jukebox musicals: the movie version of Mamma Mia, and American Idiot, the Green Day musical, which also premiered at Berkeley Rep before moving to Broadway, and I was skeptical about how much I would like this one. But Ain’t Too Proud surprised me. It was a dynamic, fascinating look one of the oldest and greatest R&B/soul groups: The Temptations.

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