Review of 'ain't too proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations'


I am hugely sceptical of shows that prominently feature the music of one particular group or era. When I see a musical I am interested in not only the music but also a real story and many such shows are not much more than watching a concert on stage. If I want to see a concert I will go to a concert, when I go to a show or musical I want more. In the case of “ain't too proud” I was pleasantly surprised. This features a good story in addition to the fantastic music of the Temptations.

The story begins with young talented musician Otis Williams (Derrick Baskin) as he puts together a group of five close-order harmony singers that work hard to get to the top of the charts. Along the way we discover the origins of Motown Records and their close relationship with The Supremes. Here we learn the group that seems to continue on forever struggled over the years with internal conflict with group members leaving, voluntarily or being asked, and suitable new singers asked to join with eventually 25 men having performed in the group.

The tight choreography and close-order harmony music is, as you might expect, absolutely amazing with some amazing vocal talents on display. There are 31 musical numbers here so you never go long without music. The staging is minimalist, our focus here is on the people and the music – What music it is featuring the biggest hits from The Temptations' back catalogue including “If You Don't Know Me by Now”, “You're My Everything”, “Just My Imagination”, “Papa was a Rollin' Stone” and “Ain't too Proud to Beg”.

Ultimately this is a bittersweet story with some truly amazing music. I found it a bit lacking in drama with much of the show seeming simply following the yearly grind of a group, one performance after another. But, goodness, what great performances they are…

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-02-25

Imperial Theatre

Location: New York (USA)

Address: 249 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036, United States

Public Transport: NYCSUB 49 Street NYCSUB 42 St-Port Authority

Telephone: +1 212-239-6200


The “Imperial Theatre” is another classic theatre in the heart of Broadway located only a short distance from Times Square. The narrow lobby includes a bar and a concession stand leading to the entrance to the orchestra (stalls) seats (there are two balconies). The theatre is a good sized, classically decorated in red though not overly garish.