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Berry Gordy Planning Autobiographical Musical

Written by Barnaby Smith on May 23, 2011

The founder of Motown Records, Berry Gordy, is, according to reports, putting together a musical that will tell the story of the 81-year-old’s life.

The Guardian reports that the legend of the recording industry is developing the production with a projected budget of US$100m (AU$94.3m).

Gordy founded Motown Records in 1960, and launched the careers of the Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and countless others. Motown was also the first record label to be owned by an African American.

The New York Post reports that the musical will take place against a 60s backdrop of civil rights and social upheaval.

A source is quoted as saying, “Berry’s been wanting to do this for a long time… This is his chance to set the record straight … He’s got the money and investors lined up.”

Gordy will reportedly work in partnership with producer Kevin McCollum, who also worked on the hit musical Rent, and Doug Morris, former CEO of Universal Music. The score is said to include the works of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and others.

The Guardian also reports on the fact Gordy has repeatedly blocked any possibility of filmmakers making a biopic of one of Motown’s greatest artists, Marvin Gaye. Director Julien Temple is now said to be working on a Gaye film.

A source said that Gordy has been  “quietly blocking the scripts and music because he doesn’t want his name dragged through the mud.”

The source added, “[He] basically owns the rights to the Marvin Gaye story.”

Gaye was married to Gordy’s sister Anna for over a decade.

 

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