(CBS) — Close your eyes, and listen to Allison Semmes sing, you might think the legendary Diana Ross is in the room.
“I knew ‘Stop in the Name of Love’, I was familiar with the music.”
But it’s Chicago native Allison Semmes who channels the pop icon every night as part of Motown the Musical.
“I read her autobiography “Secrets of a Sparrow,” I watched her movies, saw her acting chops, I saw how she spoke and her mannerisms. I always had Diana Ross, that role, that was the goal.”
Growing up in Hyde Park and a graduate of Kenwood Academy, she says she always knew music was her calling at a very young age.
“I started off in the Chicago Children’s Choir when I was six years old. I was always surrounded by music. My mother and father were always singing, making music too. I come from a family of musicians.”
Hand-picked by Motown founder, the legendary Berry Gordy, she says debuting in Chicago makes her success even sweeter.
“It’s full circle. I started off here. I was a young girl with a dream, training here and to be able to come back as a young woman just blows my mind.”
What’s next for Allison Semmel? She says the sky is the limit.
“This is my first national tour. I don’t want to end there. If you have a dream, it’s never too late.”
“Motown The Musical” is the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from boxer to music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and many more.
You can see Semmes in the show at the Oriental Theater through August 9.