How Motown The Musical broke the Shaftesbury Curse.
by Ryan Carter
It’s funny, until our company manager at Motown the Musical points it out. We’re always oblivious to the number of shows we’ve done because fundamentally, while it may be our 1000th time dit’s the audiences 1st time watching it. Sure, there are times when the monotony of the ‘schedule’ can feel tedious, but when you’re in costume, mic’d up and standing in the wings, It’s easy to rewind 999 shows and imagine that it’s day one all over again.
I should mention now that although Motown has hit 1,000 shows now, I joined in after the 1st cast change. So I’m gonna assume that I’ve done around 600 shows. I am however going take this opportunity to shout out Cherelle Williams (Mary Wilson/Cover Diana) and Carl Spencer (Marvin Gaye) who have been at the Shaftesbury since March 2015.
As I mentioned earlier, we never really take note of the numbers until someone flags it for us. But after I was asked to write this post, I thought it might be fun to delve into my own personal ‘Motown in numbers’. So, across the year and a bit I’ve been performing with Motown:
With the help of the wardrobe department, I’ve personally changed costume around 7,800 times. The wonderful ladies of the wig department have changed my wig 4,800 times. Commuting to work means that I’ve got on that wonderful central line 1,200 times, and in our usual warm ups we do 64 star jumps in our cardio session, warm up every day for around 450 days means that I’ve personal done 28,800 star jumps on the Shaftesbury stage.
THOSE ARE BIG NUMBERS. It’s testament to the amount of work that happens behind the scenes of a show. What we do onstage is only a fraction of what it means to work in Motown. The funny thing is that those 7,800 costume changes? I’m still excited to hit 7,801. Wig change 4,801 and tube 1,201 are gonna be friggin’ awesome. And yeah, I’m even excited about star jump 28,801.
Ok just kidding, the star jumps could stop and I wouldn’t be mad. Not one bit.
Most shows at The Shaftesbury close after one year. They call it ‘The Shaftesbury Curse’ - The idea that we’re too far away from the rest of the West End, so it’s easy to forget that we exist. But the legacy of Motown and the dedication of the ALL of the people that work at the Theatre means that by the end of July, we’ll actually be the 2nd longest running show at The Shaftesbury since 1973. Shaftesbury Curse - Broken!
Whether you’re our 5th audience or our 1,000th, we’re still gonna give you our all. It may be 1,001 for us, but it’s number one for you.