A Celebration of Motown Records’ Influence

February 19th, 2016 by CAPASMM

The life of Berry Gordy, songwriter and founder of Motown record label, is the focus of Motown the Musical, coming to the Ohio Theatre February 23-28. Motown was the first African-American record label to reach national acclaim. Five of its most prominent artists went on to have a profound effect on 20th century culture and music.

In celebration of Black History Month and the social changes inspired by Motown, we highlight five artists embodied in the Broadway musical, and their influence on the music industry.

1) Michael Jackson
The Jackson 5 had a slew of chart toppers from “I Want You Back” to “ABC”—and they brought us one of the greatest musical artists of all time, Michael Jackson. Michael went on to sell more than 750 million records worldwide, and break barriers at MTV with his masterpiece, Thriller. He influenced many other artists who have tried to emulate the King of Pop’s genius for singing, songwriting, dancing, and style.

2) Stevie Wonder
Signed to the Motown label at the age of 11, Stevie Wonder was recognized immediately by Berry Gordy as a future star. In 1973, he released Innervisions, rated among the greatest albums of all time. From a man of music to a leader for change, Stevie fought to establish Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a national holiday and also collaborated on the “We Are the World” fundraiser to prevent hunger.

3) Marvin Gaye
Signed in the ‘60s to Tamla, a Motown subsidiary, Marvin Gaye started as an in-house session musician and later transitioned into solo work, scoring several hits like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” He is regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time, with albums such as the socially aware What’s Going On and the provocative Let’s Get It On.

4) Smokey Robinson
Signed to Tamla Records in 1959, Smokey Robinson of The Miracles, was Gordy’s first act signed to the label. After racking up hits like “Better Shop Around” and “Tears of a Clown” with The Miracles, he joined Motown’s management as vice president, a testament to his business acumen and prolific songwriting talent. He came back to music as a solo artist in the late ‘70s with solo hits “Cruisin’” and “Being with You.”

5) Diana Ross
Diana Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of The Supremes, signed to Motown in 1961. They went on to be the most commercially successful Motown act and America’s most successful vocal group with 12 No. 1 singles such as “Where Did Our Love Go?” and “Baby Love.” Their album The Supremes A’ Go-Go was the first album by an all-female group to reach the US Billboard 200. Their success paved the way for such label mates as The Jackson 5 and The Temptations.

Motown The Musical will be at the Ohio Theatre, February 23-28. Tickets are still available here or at the CAPA Ticket Center.

Volunteer Spotlight: Eric and Rachel Johnson

February 12th, 2016 by CAPASMM

Volunteers are a very important resource to many non-profit organizations, donating their time, energy, and hard work to help an organization to meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Here at CAPA, we are beyond fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers that help make us possible. For Valentine’s Day, we would like to shine the spotlight on volunteers Eric and Rachel Johnson, who not only fell in love with CAPA but each other as well!


Could you tell us the most recent show you volunteered for?
We worked both the Saturday matinee and evening performances of The Sound of Music.
[Eric] The female lead had a very good voice and I very much enjoyed the songs.
[Rachel] I really like the energy at the Broadway shows. They tend to be busy, and people are pretty excited to be there.

How long have you each been volunteering with CAPA and what got you to start?
[Eric] I began ushering in June 2008. I had already been volunteering at Picnic with the Pops and a co-worker encouraged me to try ushering as well.
[Rachel] I started in January 2010, so six years. I was in my second year of full-time graduate school at OSU (Atmospheric Sciences MS/PhD), and doing weather research all the time was hard for me. I wanted something to do in the evenings and on weekends. My aunt and uncle, who are heavily involved with the arts in Seattle, suggested I look for Columbus volunteer opportunities in the arts. That’s how I found CAPA.

Can you describe some of the things you do for us?
[Eric] You will more often than not find me at the front doors taking tickets, and when I am not doing that, I am usually the lead usher (captain) of the left or right balcony. Sometimes, you will find me taking patrons to their seats as a regular usher.
[Rachel] I help patrons get where they need to go in the theatre (their seats, restroom, box office, etc.). I also like to share theatre history and other shows that I’ve enjoyed.

I understand that you met through CAPA. Can you remember a moment in particular that brought you two together?
We lived and worked near each other for years, but only met through our volunteer work with CAPA. So, CAPA is very special to us.
[Eric] March 10, 2012, at the Capitol Theatre, we were both ticket takers at the second performance of Miracles and Magic performance. Rachel’s scanner malfunctioned, and after the show started, we sat out in the lobby and scanned the tickets that Rachel had to tear by hand. We talked while scanning, and ended up deciding to get dinner together.
[Rachel] It started moving quickly after that day—a CSO concert two weeks later was our first real date. We realized we had a lot in common in addition to CAPA. We’re both scientists who love the arts.

Do you guys have a favorite show or performance you’ve seen while with us?
[Eric] There have been so many great shows. The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera were great. I would have to say my favorite show that I have worked was a Japanese Taiko (drum) group.
[Rachel] Well, this one we actually attended as patrons, but Twisted (CSO/BalletMet/Opera Columbus collaboration) was fabulous. Honestly, every six months I have a new favorite show. One of the great things about Columbus is that we get amazing touring shows through here, but we also have stellar local organizations like the CSO, BalletMet, ProMusica, Columbus Children’s Theatre, and Opera Columbus. There are so many great performances being created right here in Columbus.

Aside from finding your soulmate, what are some benefits from working with CAPA?
[Eric] It is an enjoyable volunteering experience and you get to work many great shows.
[Rachel] The people and the shows. I’ve made many friends through CAPA, and seen shows I would not have attended otherwise. I love helping patrons navigate the theatres, especially the ones who are new to the venue or haven’t been there in years.

What would you tell others to encourage them to volunteer with CAPA as well?
[Eric] You get exposed to so many great performances.
[Rachel] You’re working with great people at great shows, and you can really make a difference in the patron experience. I am so happy to use my time and energy to help people have a good experience at the CAPA theatres. And the shows are wonderful. I worked The Phantom of the Opera seven times when it was here in 2014.

What show are you volunteering at next and what are you looking forward to about it?
Our next show is BalletMet’s Carmen.maquia.
[Eric] I have found that I quite enjoy BalletMet’s performances. I was not interested in ballet until my exposure through CAPA. Now I try to work all their performances, and will buy tickets to see the ones that I am really interested in. Alice in Wonderland was a great performance.
[Rachel] The artistry and athleticism of BalletMet is amazing, whether it’s a traditional ballet or a new work.

Lastly, would you recommend CAPA as a good match-maker?
[Eric] For someone who finds the arts to be an important part of their life, it’s a good way to meet other like-minded individuals.
[Rachel] As Eric says, if you like the performing arts and interacting with people, then you’ll meet similar people with CAPA!

If you would like to join CAPA’s volunteer team and create some great memories of your own, contact Janet Rife at volunteer@capa.com.


Interview by Brian Doney.

Shaping Sound’s Travis Wall: Top 5 SYTYCD Moments

February 1st, 2016 by CAPASMM

You might know him from “So You Think You Can Dance” or maybe his choreography for “The Wedding Ringer,” “Step Up Revolution,” or “Dancing with the Stars.” Now you can see him LIVE at the Palace Theatre! Emmy Award winning choreographer and dancer Travis Wall introduces Shaping Sound, a dance experience brought to life with a dynamic company of dancers, blending a number of styles and genres. Before you go see the show this Saturday, let’s take a look back at how he got his start on “So You Think You Can Dance!”

1) Let’s start at the beginning. A young Travis Wall auditions for season two of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

2) Later in season two, here’s his legendary duet with dancer Heidi Groskreutz to Celine Dion’s “Calling You.”

3) At the end of season two, Wall was promoted to choreographer for “So You Think You Can Dance.” Here’s his first choreographed piece, “If It Kills Me,” from season five.

4) Wall choreographed a number of memorable routines for the show, often pulling inspiration from his personal life. Here is “Fix You,” a beautiful and heartfelt number expressing his mother’s emotional journey when facing major surgery.

5) In 2015, Travis Wall won an Emmy for three routines choreographed for “So You Think You Can Dance.” Here is one of the award-winning works, “Wave.”

Fans of Travis Wall and “So You Think You Can Dance” will watch in awe and wonderment as his incredible talents give shape and form to sound.

Shaping Sound will be at the Palace Theatre, Saturday, February 6, 2016. Tickets are still available here or at the CAPA Ticket Center.