Motown: The Musical Presented by Broadway In Boston, it plays at the Boston Opera House through February 15th

“Berry Gordy founded Motown in Detroit to function as the car manufacturers did—to produce gleaming embodiments of success. Starting in a modest house emblazoned with the title “Hitsville U.S.A.”, Gordy was himself a vehicle for triumph giving rise to a host of singers and groups including The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5 and so many more. And all against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Motown: The Musical gives us a pretty poignant sketch of that time while delivering a rousing romp through Motown’s glorious catalogue. It’s worth seeing the show just for the powerhouse cast.”

  Herbie Hancock: Possibilities In bookstores now

“I personally love biographies for the glimpse they provide of certain eras. In his first-ever memoir, Jazz legend Herbie Hancock writes engagingly of the 1950s and 60s New York’s jazz scene when he managed to land none other than Miles Davis as a mentor and later, colleague. He writes candidly too of the controversy he courted in branching out into funk, pop partnerships and electronic music. He also reveals, for the first time, his battles with drug addiction. See how a star was born (he was an early piano prodigy) and succeeds still.”

Black or White In theaters Friday

“At first blush Black or White has all the tropes of an old-school TV movie. White grandfather Elliot (Kevin Costner) has custody of his biracial granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell) after the sudden death of his wife. Bereft and fond of the drink, he finds himself in a custody battle with Eloise’s African American grandmother Rowena (Octavia Spencer). But the court custody battle gives rise to a host of pointed conversations about race, class and firmly ensconced stereotypes. The themes can be ugly and uncomfortable which only make them succeed in a very pointed provocation.”

This week on Open Studio Jared visits the Huntington Theatre Company production of The Second Girl and interviews actor Elijah Rock and creator Daniel Beaty on their Arts Emerson production Breath and Imagination, the artistry of opera singer Roland Hayes.

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