Motown: The Musical rolls into town this weekend with its hip-shaking, finger-snapping blend of drama and delight. To “Get Ready” (get it?), we chatted with single-named singer Trenyce, a former American Idol finalist who plays Diana Ross in the show.
How did you become involved with Motown?
I had been living in London for five years and had heard “Motown” was going to go to the West End. I auditioned over there, but at the time things didn’t quite work out with my visa. But I kept the script and followed the show, and when I came back to the U.S., my agent told me they were planning to do a tour version. It was the perfect time to audition again. Mr. [Berry] Gordy (who the musical is based on) was in the second audition, and I saw him smiling.
Tell us about your role as Diana Ross.
[The musical] follows the whole arc of Diana and Gordy’s relationship, starting when The Supremes meet him for the first time. She wasn’t afraid to approach him, she wasn’t afraid to sing in front of him. They have chemistry–not just physical but mental. They’re both go-getters and visionaries. You see the demise of the group, and how the dynamic shifts. But she felt controlled by Gordy. She wanted to have her own thoughts, her own vision. Music was changing.
Have you met Diana?
I have not, but I would love to!
What’s it like working with Berry Gordy?
He’s very involved in the show, still very vocal. It’s like a peek into the record industry–you see how the mogul’s mind works. You see how he was able to turn 800 dollars into millions. He’s very particular, and very sharp.
What’s your favorite song in the show?
My favorite song to perform is “Reach Out and Touch,” the part of the show where I get to come into the audience and connect with them. They finally get to see that there’s a human element to myself and a human element to Diana Ross. I remember reading in her biography that connecting with the audience was her favorite part as well. You’re letting them see you, breathe you, feel you. It breaks that fourth wall. You’re not perfect all the time.
There’s a moment, too, where I tell the audience to grab hands and sway. In some cities, this is the first time blacks and whites have touched each other, looked at each other, sang together. It’s a monumental emotional moment in the show that’s perfect for what’s going on in the world today.
Are you excited to come to Baltimore? What do you want people to know about the show?
Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to come to Baltimore! I’ve been there before with “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Love in the Nick of Tyme” – it’s the type of crowd that will be honest and vocal.
I just want everyone to come have a good time. If you know the songs, sing along! We love that.