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Berry Gordy Eying $100 Million Broadway Musical Based On His Life + He's Blocking Marvin Gaye Films?

by Tambay A. Obenson
May 16, 2011 7:24 AM
7 Comments
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Reading THIS piece on the New York Post's website this afternoon, and learned the following: that Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. is indeed developing a Broadway musical based on his life "to set the record straight on the inception of the iconic label."

The budget? $100 million!!! WTF? I'm no theater geek, but I think I can say with some certainty that a $100 million Broadway production is unheard of. Wasn't the troubled Spiderman musical, budgeted at about $65 million, said to be the most expensive Broadway show ever? And this dude is reportedly eying a $100 million budget for his autobiographical show?

Somebody out there enlighten me... how feasible is this?

The NY Post does quote sources who say Berry apparently has the money, with investors line up, which I find very hard to believe. But what do I know?

Berry, who's been wanting to do this for awhile, is also reportedly working to get Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson involved, though it doesn't say in what capacity.

My question is... With that kind of money, assuming this to be the case, wouldn't a film make a lot more sense than a theater production, since it'll likely reach far more people around the country, especially if his intent is to "set the record straight?"

I should mention that, some of you may recall that, last summer, I posted an entry on award-winning director, Bill T. Jones' intentions to bring Berry Gordy’s life story to the Broadway stage as a musical. I have no idea if he's involved in Berry Gordy's proposed $100 million project; I'd guess so.

Also worth noting, the NY Post piece mentions Gordy's attempts to block film productions on the life on Marvin Gaye, for fear that he (Gordy) would be depicted negatively.

As we already know, there are/have been a number of planned Marvin Gaye projects over the years, though none of them has seen the light of day. Our last post on the matter centered on Jesse L. Martin's frustrations with the delays in getting his version produced, saying that getting a Marvin Gaye film made at this point was "impossible," though he didn't give explicit reasons why. I guess we can identify one of those reasons are Gordy's interference, since he owns the rights to most of Motown's catalogs, including Marvin Gaye's music.

"He [Gordy] basically owns the rights to the Marvin Gaye story... And he's been quietly blocking the scripts and music because he doesn't want his name dragged through the mud," a source for the NY Post said.

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7 Comments

  • Yhe Boss | May 27, 2011 7:10 AMReply

    You here all these stories about Berry ripping off artist and if you know anything about the industry have you see in print where he his major stars said he ripped them off.

    In most cases you always hear the rip of stories from artist that did not make it. Also take in account how many black artist dreams and visions Berry made happen. In this day of people needing jobs all over the country, many of the artist that came out of the Motown camp is still working.

  • Ras The Exhorter | May 17, 2011 5:07 AMReply

    Marvin Gaye story... it might be interesting, and I can see why Gordy would have a hard-on for trying to block it... Jesse L. Martin might not have the clout to get it going too.

    But Gordy's life story didn't even make that interesting reading, so how could even $10m be money-well spent... and people who are want to "set the record straight" channel Orwell's New Speak and other 11984-esque reshapings of the past

  • Zeus | May 16, 2011 9:48 AMReply

    After the way he was portrayed in DREAMGIRLS (the movie), Berry is trying to keep things under wraps. No surprise! lol

  • Geneva Girl | May 16, 2011 9:47 AMReply

    What kind of special effects could $100 million buy and how would they be used in a Broadway show?

    Ditto all of the above.

  • Frankie | May 16, 2011 9:27 AMReply

    It's New York Post hyperbole. There's no way anyone plans to spend $100 million on a musical. The item on Page Six is just plain stupid!

  • Jug | May 16, 2011 8:43 AMReply

    How do you spell box office bomb? E-G-O

  • Lynn | May 16, 2011 8:35 AMReply

    Yeah definitely WTF?? I attend broadway theatre shows quite often and this is just unheard of.

    About the whole Marvin Gaye film it makes no sense that he is trying to block the film production. I think he has a lot to hide he ripped off a lot of artists back in the Motown era.

    Besides, who is going to see a Berry Gordy show anyway?

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