Photo by Jenny Anderson
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 Saycon Sengbloh, who kicks up her heels as The Vandellas' lead singer Martha Reeves. Best known for her signature tune "Dancing in the Street," the brassy Reeves (and the Vandellas) broke out as one of Motown's first girl groups. Read on for Sengbloh's sensational ode to Reeves!
Name: Saycon Sengbloh
Hometown: College Park, GA
Role: Martha Reeves
First/fondest memory of your icon: While I was at Tri-Cities High School, our visual and performing arts magnet program did several variety shows in between our musicals, usually for a holiday celebration of some type. Well, once for Black History Month we did Motown hits and my friends played Martha and the Vandellas and sang “Dancing in the Street”! A few years later I met the real Martha Reeves when I was in Detroit doing the national tour of Aida. I'm sure she won't remember me, but that was pretty cool!
Favorite song sung by your icon: I really like the song “Come and Get These Memories.” It tells the coy story of love lost and has the cutest harmonies. The Vandellas sing “come and get ‘em!” because she doesn’t need those memories anymore after having her heart broken.
What does it mean to you to be playing your icon? To be a part of Motown and play anyone is a thrill! To play Martha Reeves is truly the tops because she has been such an icon in Motown history and to the city of Detroit as well.
Most surprising fact you learned about your icon: I learned this some time ago, before I was ever a part of Motown, but people would be surprised to know that Sonny Bono isn't the only singer to serve his city politically. In addition to entertaining the masses, at one time Martha Reeves served on the Detroit City Council. Her career is amazing that way.
Hardest thing about playing your icon: The most exciting and occasionally nerve-wracking thing is that there's a moment in the show where all the music stops and I have to sing a cappella. I pray to do it well every time!
Easiest thing about playing your icon: The glamour, dress-up and hairstyles come easy to me! When I'm not wearing my afro in real life, I love to change it up and dress up and put on lashes and try different styles of makeup.
Which of your icon’s songs do you sing in the show? A huge production number of "Dancing in the Street!" I love it!
If you could meet your icon, what would you say to her? I'd ask her how she dealt with being surrounded by the most exciting men in America: The Temptations, The Contours, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye…how could you concentrate on doing secretarial work with Marvin Gaye downstairs making hits!? And then I'll tell her, "I know there'll never be another you, but each night in the show I try to pay homage as best I can!"
One word to describe your icon: Fabulous!
Click here for more Legends of Motown profiles!