Hi Toyan. You are currently starring in Ain't Too Proud at the Prince Edwards Theatre. How is everything going?
It's going really well, thank you. It's a show filled with so much joy and heart and family-orientated themes that it's such a pleasure to go into work every day and share that experience with our amazing cast, crew and audiences.
Can you tell us a bit about the role you play within the production?
As an ensemble member you play multiple roles in the show but the main role that I play is, Lamont, who is Otis' son. A son that for most of his life has grown up without a father figure because he has been so busy with his music career, but (without giving away too many spoilers for people that WILL come and watch the show) further down in his life his father tries to make amends and be present in his life. Will it be too late?
At the press night, we saw a special appearance by Otis Williams, the last of the original Temptations. Was it the first time you met this music legend, and how was it?
Yes, this was the first time I met Otis Williams and it was a big moment, for all of us! We got to meet the legend whom without him going on the journey that he's went on in his life, this musical wouldn't even be happening right now. It's such an honour getting to be a small part of the telling of his incredible story.
Is there a favourite musical number from the musical, for you?
There's so many songs in this show where you just go, “oh my goodness, I love this song. Such a classic!!” And I feel like because so many of them are iconic, my choice of favourite song/musical number changes. At the moment I would say that I absolutely love ‘Get Ready'. An upbeat feel-good song and the choreography to that number specifically in the show is one of my favourites. So full out, doesn't stop moving and is a showstopper leaving everyone wanting to get up on their feet and dance.
What would you say to those who are thinking about coming to see Ain't Too Proud but are not sure what to expect from the musical?
Ain't Too Proud isn't just a show that appreciates the incredible music that The Temptations produced. It's also a show about friendship, love, perseverance, hardships, family (in every aspect of the word), and above all, really celebrates Black culture. It's also so rare to have a show that champions five Black men in their successes and especially their love for one another, where sometimes emotions can be seen as a weakness when it comes to male presenting Black men. So, all in all it's a show that can resonate with such a wide spectrum of people and that is what makes certain pieces of theatre so special. When anyone and everyone, from young, inspired people of colour all the way to the older generation that grew up listening to this music, can take a bit of something away where they have felt seen.
The show runs until January 2024. Tickets: here.
Photo: Michael Carlo