CHICAGO (CBS) — Justin Reynolds knew from a young age he was born for the theater, as both of his parents are in the entertainment business.
“When I was 12, I got a lead role in a show in downtown Chicago,” he said.
The Oak Park River Forest High School graduate plays Smokey Robinson in “Motown the Musical.”
“I knew a few songs that Smokey had written,” he said. “I knew he’d been a songwriter for The Miracles. I knew “Cruisin” and “You Really Got A Hold On Me” but I had to do some research to dig deeper and figure out his tone and his voice. He’s got such a unique voice,” said Reynolds.
He says the story of Berry Gordy and Motown Records is so historical.
“Motown music is iconic, it’s timeless. The sound they created is a sound that white America, it introduced them to black culture. It’s been incredible. To be able to do that music is amazing,” said Reynolds.
“To be traveling around the U.S and to tell this story. Most people don’t know who Berry Gordy is, what Motown is. It’s a show but it’s also such a good history lesson and how it changed the world,” said Jasmine Maslanova-Brown, who plays Suzanne de Pass and Florence Ballard, one of the Supremes.
“I looked up a lot of videos of Suzanne de Pass. I’m hoping she’ll come to the show. It’s interesting playing a character who’s still alive and putting a little bit of yourself into it,” she said.
Reynolds says it’s great to perform for a hometown audience.
“It’s really exciting. It’s great to be back home. I love Chicago. I think there are about 300 people coming to see me throughout the week,” he laughed.
Motown the Musical is at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through Sunday, Oct. 8th.
“I’ve always said if I could do a Motown show every night, I’d be set. That’s a dream come true. To be able to pay tribute to Motown music and to Berry Gordy and his life and legacy, it’s an honor,” he said.