Get ready, ‘cause here they come! Broadway.com is taking a deep dive into some of the musical icons who grace the stage in Motown: The Musical, which charts the life of Motown mogul Berry Gordy. Our Legends of Motown series continues with the leading man himself, Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Gordy in the musical re-telling of this visionary producer's meteoric career. Dixon worked closely with Gordy to recapture the character of the young Motown label founder, whose musical discoveries include Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Temptations, Michael Jackson and so many more!
Name: Brandon Victor Dixon
Age & Hometown: 31; Gaithersburg, MD
Role: Berry Gordy Jr.
First/fondest memory of your icon: I really only knew the name Berry Gordy growing up, but I didn't know what he looked like or anything about him. My introduction to Motown was through the Jackson 5, so I knew he was responsible for them and Motown but not much more than that. One of my fondest memories of Berry is the morning we spent in his pool house two years ago discussing what were to become some of the defining elements of our current production.
Favorite song sung by your icon: Berry doesn't really sing, but my favorite song that he's written is "Maybe Tomorrow" (Jackson 5) and "Can I Close the Door" (Brandon Victor Dixon). I had the Michael Jackson Anthology (two tapes!) and it was maybe my favorite song on the whole thing. The latter, he wrote for the show because I told him to ;) and it's perfect.
What does it mean to you to be playing your icon? It means everything. Berry has had an incalculable impact on the history of the world and on the evolution of entertainment. Every opportunity I have today is in large part owed to his vision and drive to accomplish said vision.
Most surprising fact you learned about your icon: Nothing surprises me about Berry Gordy. :)
Hardest thing about playing your icon: Determining what a young Berry would do. That also means tempering my research and imagination with his ideas of how he did things or feels he did things. It is relatively impossible for people to have clear perspectives on themselves when they're in the midst of them, and often harder to recollect after the times, eras, and situations themselves have passed. The truth frequently lies somewhere in the middle. Finding the proper middle is not always easy.
Easiest thing about playing your icon: In many respects, he is very much like me. And his trust in me allows me to trust my own instincts as well.
Which of your icon’s songs do you sing in the show? "To Be Loved," "Money," "What's in the Grooves," "Can I Close the Door.”
If you could meet your icon, what would you say to him? The same thing I say to him all the time. "Listen to me! I'm right." Which of course is what he says to me as well. :)
One word to describe your icon: Junior
Click here for more Legends of Motown profiles!