Nominated for 12 Tony Awards, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, mixes music and a messy history of success with personal failures. Under the canny direction of Des McAnuff, along with sensational choreography by Sergio Trujillo, this musical captures the rise and fall of a Motown supergroup. There have been 24 Temptations over the life of the group. As the group’s leader and show’s narrator, Otis Williams–played with gravitas by Derrick Baskin–says, “Sometimes Temp stood for “temporary.”

As The Temptations find success, members start to fall away because of alcohol, drug, physical and mental problems. The core lineup of original The Temptations slowly get whittled down to its founder: Otis Williams–still alive. But to me, Ephraim Sykes (as David Ruffin) steals every scene he’s in. David Ruffin, talented but volatile, sings some of The Temptation’s greatest hits–“My Girl” (1964), “It’s Growing” (1965), “Since I Lost My Baby” (1965), “My Baby” (1965), “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (1966), “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” (1966), “(I Know) I’m Losing You” (1966), “All I Need” (1967), “(Loneliness Made Me Realize) It’s You That I Need” (1967), “I Wish It Would Rain” (1967), and “I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)” (1968). But Ruffin’s abusive relationship with the singer Tammi Terrell (Nasia Thomas) accelerates his departure from the group.

I also loved the presence of The Supremes, led by the amazing Candice Marie Woods in a pitch-perfect version of Diana Ross. Rashidra Scott impressed me as Otis’s long-suffering and neglected wife, Josephine. If you’re looking for an entertaining and moving musical, Ain’t Too Proud hits all the right notes. Are you a fan of The Temptations? Do you have a favorite song? GRADE: A
“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
“All I Need”
“Baby Love”
“Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)”
“Cloud Nine”
“Come See About Me”
“Don’t Look Back”
“For Once in My Life”
“Get Ready”
“I Can’t Get Next to You”
“I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)”
“(I Know) I’m Losing You”
“I Want a Love I Can See”
“I Wish It Would Rain”
“If You Don’t Know Me by Now”
“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”
“In the Still of the Night”
“Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”
“My Girl”
“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”
“Runaway Child, Running Wild”
“Since I Lost My Baby”
“Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)”
“The Way You Do the Things You Do”
“What Becomes of the Brokenhearted”
“You Can’t Hurry Love”
“You’re My Everything”


  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    A big fan of the Temptations. My least favorite Motown group was the Supremes. Favorite songs include I Wish It Would Rain, Just My Imagination and Aint Too Proud to Beg and Papa Was a Rolling Stone.

  2. Deb

    So many great songs, but “Cloud Nine,” “Psychedelic Shack,” and “Ball of Confusion” are my favorites.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, you would love this musical! And two of your three favorite Temptations songs are performed in AIN’T TOO PROUD!

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    Well, yeah! I saw them on stage back in the early ’60s. Favorites? My Girl is #1, but also Ain’t Too Proud to Beg Since I Lost My Baby and some of the later ones – Ball of Confusion, Just My Imagination, I Wish It Would Rain.

    You make it sound better than some of the reviews.

    I liked the Supremes and Four Tops too, but the Temptations were the first Motown group I followed.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, like you I grew up listening to The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, and all of the other Motown groups. This music both presents the great music of Motown and captures the price Fame extracts from these young men. I hope AIN’T TOO PROUD wins a bunch of Tonys next month!

    1. george Post author

      Beth, we saw two musicals and two plays. My reviews will be posted this week and next! You would love AIN’T TOO PROUD!

    1. wolf

      Is Cher connected to Motown?

      I remember her as a “Phil Spector Girl”.
      I was too old in a way for the Temptations (born in 1943) – when I was a student in the 60s I listened to Dylan, Clapton, Winwood and the Stones of course.
      But in the 50s I was a big fan of Ray Charles, Chuck Berry etc – could listen to them on the American Forces Network.

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        No Wolf, to that. My reference was to The Cher Show, which George was also seeing this weekend.

      2. george Post author

        Wolf, Cher sang backup on several of Spector’s classic recordings, including “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers, and Darlene Love’s “A Fine, Fine Boy”. As far as I know, Cher didn’t have anything to do with Motown. She recorded for ATCO and REPRISE.

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