We recently caught up with Motown The Musical cast member, Cedric Neal who will be stepping into the shoes of legendary Motown founder Berry Gordy from February 2016 in the West End. Read on to find out what Motown means to him and what it was like auditioning in front of Berry Gordy himself!
How excited are you to be stepping into the shoes of such a legend?
Cedric: Asking me if I’m excited to be stepping into the shoes of a legend like Berry Gordy is a gross understatement. I feel blessed, anxious, humbled and ready! Mr Gordy is an icon who changed the face of not only American music but music worldwide. To be portraying him on stage is a blessing, I’m excited!
Did you grow up listening to a lot of Motown music?
Cedric: I grew up listening to Motown, I come from a singing family so we listened to Motown and Gospel. Ain’t too proud to beg was my dad’s favourite song so by the time I was 6 or 7, I have 2 brothers and we were his background singers. The Motown sound has affected my sound, I can’t avoid it, I can’t deny it and would never want to.
What was it like auditioning in front of Berry Gordy?
Cedric: Auditioning for this role was a bit overwhelming initially. When the casting call went out I was thinking they’ll call me in for Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye and then my agent said no they want you to audition for Berry Gordy! The first couple of auditions, I was nervous, but my final recall, let me tell you this story. I get to the audition space, I’m in the hall waiting and I ask the audition assistant who’s in the room and she said Charles and the choreographer and a couple of the producers. And I said “So Mr Gordy’s not in there?”, she goes “No he’s not”. So the guy who’s in the room comes out and as I’m getting ready to go in the assistant says “hold on, Mr Gordy just got here”. There was a whole other world of nerves looking at this icon I’m auditioning to play. But I went in and rocked it for him and here we are!
What’s it like to be at this stage of the process with auditions done and you’ve got the part?
Cedric: This is the best stage of the process for me, it’s exciting, it’s nerve-racking but it’s a wonderful nerve-racking! I’m ready for the people to get it, they need to get ready!
Read our interview with Lucy St Louis here.
Make sure to check out our Explore page for more exclusive Motown The Musical content.