It is renowned as a legendary record label in the Music industry, with its founder Berry Gordy showing the vision that helped to launch the careers of many of the top American popstars of yesteryear and beyond. Now ‘Motown: The Musical’ will aim to remind British audiences why Motown became such an iconic brand, when it opens on the West End next February.

Gordy has been promoting the musical in London this week, ahead of the transition of the Tony-nominated production from its successful Broadway run to its re-vamped incarnation at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

What can British audiences expect?

What can the Brits expect from the ambitious two hour musical spectacular? One thing is for sure, given the label’s prodigious chart success since its humble beginnings back in 1959 as Tamla Records, there will be no shortage of potential tracks to fill the time available. So much so that some of the populartracks have fallen by the wayside as they didn’t fit in with the basic storyline.

Theatre-goers have been promised that such memorable tracks as “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “Dancing In The Street”, “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” will all be included in the set by an eighteen-piece orchestra.

With time at a premium, others have been truncated down to shorter versions or incorporated into brief medleys.

Hopefully it won’t drift into a Jive Bunny-type mish-mash of sounds though and there will be sufficient singalong time to keep the fans happy.

The London version will feature a British cast with tickets starting at £22.90 for the cheapest seats and rising to almost £170 for the best seats in the house.

Development of the Motown sound

The production follows the story of Gordy through the development of Motown, with an enviable soundtrack featuring around fifty of the hits that brought them such huge success down through the years.

Building on his personal experiences in the fabled Detroit automobile industry, Gordy instilled similar production line methods when providing music for “Young America”.

Besides the familiar tunes that provide the backdrop, the plot includes coverage of the founder’s romance with Diana Ross, the lead singer with the label’s most successful act during the 1960s.

The Supremes remain one of the world’s best-selling all-girl groups of all time, rivalling even The Beatles at their peak.

Another key theme to be featured in the tale is that of the battle against the racial issues of the period in America. An appreciation of the music of Motown helped to begin the process of bringing black and white fans together. ‪

Fabulous soundtrack in the making

Attempting to nurture The Supremes’ brand may have been enough for many record labels, but not for Motown Records. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye - the list goes on - were all launched by the company. Motown quite simply marched into the American pop charts during the 60s and 70s, monopolising the soundtrack for many youngsters’ formative years and leaving their legacy behind for generations to come.

The musical promises a feast of entertainment for connoisseurs of a golden age in music history.