It began as one man's story and became America's music. And now it's a rousing Broadway musical entitled, appropriately, "Motown The Musical."
The American-dream-come-true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy's journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul plays the Boston Opera House June 12-17.
The talented cast features Boston-based actress/singer Quiana Holmes as Mary Wilson, who, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, co-founded The Supremes, one of many acts that Gordy made famous. Others include Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye.
Holmes landed her role just months after her 2017 graduation from Boston's Berklee College of Music. And she's thrilled with her good fortune.
"I graduated on a Saturday last May, and a friend sent me a text suggesting I get in touch with Craig Baker Management," said Holmes, who lives in Dorchester. "I sent him my material, he signed me, and by August, I had the part and have been on the road since October."
Singing and performing come naturally to Holmes, who started singing gospel and show tunes as a kid in her evangelist/playwright mother Beverly's productions in New York state.
"I played Judas in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and Fantine in 'Les Miserables,' and I made my professional debut playing Dorothy in 'The Wiz' at Boston's Fiddlehead Theatre Company," she said. "But playing Mary Wilson is my first time playing a living person, and I love it. Mary goes after what she wants and is super-sassy. I've always felt like that myself."
She loves the music, and noted that the costumes and wigs are something else.
"There's lots of sequins and the wigs are great. It's like time travel every time we put them on," she said.
Playing the Boston Opera House is a treat, said Holmes. "Boston is home for me forever, and it's an honor to play that beautiful theater."
Tickets start at $44 and are available at Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787 or at www.BroadwayInBoston.com.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the marquee
EASE ON DOWN: Lyric Stage, located in Copley Square, Boston, has extended "The Wiz" by popular demand through July 1. The Tony Award-winning musical is based on L. Frank Baum's story, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and combines fairy-tale glamour, street smarts and rock, gospel, soul and jazz-infused tunes. Added performances are Thursday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, June 29, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 30, at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 1, at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Senior, student and kid discounts at www.lyricstage.com or call 617-585-5678.
TONY-WINNING DANCE: Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse is featured in Brian Friel's "Dancing at Lughnasa" at Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main St., June 8-July 8. The Irish masterpiece received the Tony Award for Best Play in 1992 and chronicles the lives of the five Mundy sisters and their brother Jack, who has returned home after 25 years. Benny Sato Ambush directs the show, which also features Jennie Israel, Bryn Austin, Cassie Gilling and Samantha Richert. Tickets start at $35 at 978-281-4433 or visit www.gloucesterstage.com.
SPEAKEASY SEASON: Boston's SpeakEasy Stage Company will expand from five shows to six for its 2018-2019 season and has renewed its new-works program, The Boston Project, which will offer two Boston playwrights commissions to create new plays about living in Boston now. The season opens with "Between Riverside and Crazy" by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Sept. 7-Oct. 6. Other show include "Fun Home," music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, based on Alison Bechdel's graphic novel, Oct. 19-Nov. 17; "Small Mouth Sounds" by Bess Wohl, Jan. 4-Feb. 7, 2019; "Once" by Enda Walsh, music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, March 1-30, 2019; "School Girls; or the African Mean Girls Play," by Jocelyn Bioh, May 3-25, 2019; and "The View Upstairs, " by Max Vernon, May 31-June 22, 2019. Performances are at the Calderwood Pavilion in the Boston Center for the Arts, Tremont St., in the South End. For tickets and info, call 617-933-8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.