Friday, January 21, 2022

Ain’t Too Proud rehearsal at the Proctors before the tour – The Daily Gazette

Broadway may return to the Schenectady public next week, but he has been on the Proctors for the past few weeks, as Tony’s award-winning musical “Ain’t Too Proud” did the technical rehearsals for its first touring production.

For actor and musician Elijah Ahmad Lewis, who plays David Ruffin, working at the Schenectady Theater is not new territory.

“This is my fourth time at Proctors,” Lewis said. “We’ve been here twice with Motown, I also did another show here. … … It’s always a crazy feeling to be back in town, but I’ve always had a great time here. “

Lewis grew up surrounded by music (his father was a producer and they had a home studio). He began singing and performing at a young age, and his acting credits include the hit off-Broadway production of Mom, I Want to Sing, as well as the Broadway Motown Musical and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times. from The Temptations, “in which he was the main backup face of David Ruffin, Eddie Kendrix and Otis Williams. He was off the show when Broadway closed last year.

“It was pretty hard. It was like being blown out by the wind, ”Lewis said. “One evening you perform on a show, you go home, and the next day you get a message from your director that says, ‘Hi, we are refraining from concerts.’ We will contact you, but we are not working yet. ” To get this message across. … … It was almost like a loss. This is your livelihood. We do eight concerts a week. You sometimes see most of the actors more often than the real family. “

At the same time, the stop showed how much was missed on Broadway.

“It was the first closure of huge Broadway. You were able to see the impact Broadway was bringing to New York because the entire downtown area was dead. It looked like a tumbleweed, ”Lewis said.

After a few months of hiatus earlier this year, he finally got word that production would start again and pick up where he left off, only this time he landed his first major union role playing David Ruffin in the touring production of Ain. … “I’m too proud.”

“The interesting thing is, usually, when Broadway shows are on Broadway, the tour goes off. But this was the first time Broadway shows had returned and toured at the same time. Many shows have been prepared twice, ”Lewis said.

“Ain’t Too Proud” reopens on Broadway on October 16th. Rehearsals for the touring production began shortly thereafter in New York. The cast began rehearsals in Schenectady last week, although crew members arrived early to set the stage, lighting, etc. They plan to continue rehearsing at the Proctors during the week.

“This show is amazing,” Lewis said. “It tells the stories of these five black men who loved music and were passionate about music, and who went through a time when it was not easy to be recognized in what you did. It’s amazing for The Temptations to do what they did and become the number one R&B group. “

It’s filled with classic hits such as “If I Could Build My World Around You”, “Dad Was A Rolling Stone” and of course, “Not Too Proud to Begging.”
However, Lewis notes that it doesn’t have to be a jukebox.

“Dominique Morisseau wrote this book so eloquently and poetically, and I say that [with] In this show, you get a mixture of concert with film and performance at the same time. Their production is so cinematic that we do a lot of unconventional things that we don’t usually do on Broadway. We have so many lights and a set of changes. … … I want people to be convinced that this is the real story. It’s more than just music, ”Lewis said.

While at Proctors, they made several changes to the original production.

“There are several edits. We have to make sure that this stunning set is installed in every theater where we can, so that there is a little manipulation, but we stay true to the designs that our design team has graciously put together, from lighting to sound and even our projections. ” Lewis said.

The “Ain’t Too Proud” tour kicks off in Durham, North Carolina on December 7th. A date for the Metropolitan Area has yet to be announced, but it is scheduled to take place in Boston from April 19 to May 1 and Buffalo from May 10. -15.

“I think the only thing I love about touring is being able to reach so many people at the same time. Unfortunately, everyone can’t get to Broadway. We’d love it, but just being able to put it out there for people to see is really good. Theater is medicine, music is medicine. [it’s] that’s what we all need, ”Lewis said.

Prior to the release of Ain’t Too Proud in September, Hadestown held technical rehearsals at Proctors. His performance at the theater is scheduled for 2023. Other productions that Proctors will be performing in the coming months: Summer: Donna’s Summer Musical from December 7 to 12, Come from Away from January 25 to January 25. 30, “Hire: 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour”, February 11-12, “The Waitress”, February 25-27, Graduation Party, March 1-6, “Dear Evan Hansen”, March 22-27, “Cats May 3-8, My Fair Lady May 17-22, Harper Lee Kills a Mockingbird Too Much, June 14-19, Mean Girls June 28-July 3. visit proctors.org.

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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Art

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