‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg: Relive the Magic at Ahmanson

L-R: Christian Thompson, Saint Aubyn, Ephraim Sykes (center), Jeremy Pope, Derrick Baskin and Jawan M. Jackson in “Ain't Too Proud." Photo: Matthew Murphy

Bringing the story of The Temptations to the stage can’t be an easy task, but ‘Ain’t Too Proud delivers a production that does justice to the gargantuan legacy of the legendary Motown group.

L-R: Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, James Harkness and Derrick Baskin in “Ain’t Too Proud.” Photo: Matthew Murphy.

Many will be familiar with the story set in 1960’s Chicago and how music mogul Berry Gordy and prolific songwriters like Smokey Robinson helped elevate the velvety quintet from their humble beginnings. The evolution of the group is fraught with drama and its changing members, and it’s all depicted captivatingly in the midst of a feel-good, nostalgic songbook, thanks to spectacular vocals, orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, and music direction by Kenny Seymour.

Founding member, Otis Redding (played to pitch perfection by Derrick Baskin) was the only one who lasted through its metamorphosis and so it’s through his perspective that we appreciate the sometimes tragic, other times jubilant journey. This shuffling of members, as they battle private and public demons, is cleverly embodied by the constantly sliding, in-motion stage.

L-R: Derrick Baskin, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, Ephraim Sykes and James Harkness in “Ain’t Too Proud.” Photo: Matthew Murphy.

It’s clear from the start that every performer has accepted the challenge to give it their all in order to fill some really big shoes, and this is the closest you might get to seeing The Temptations again.

— Warner Alas

Ain’t Too Proud playing at The Ahmanson through Sept 30th. Get tickets HERE.