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‘A Motown Celebration’ steps in at freeFall Theatre

Bill DeYoung



Broadway's Chester Gregory is bringing 'A Motown Celebration' to St. Pete's freeFall Theatre. Publicity photo.

A medical emergency meant that At Home With Ethel Waters, the first show in freeFall Theatre’s 2023-24 season, did not make its scheduled opening date last week. It has now been indefinitely postponed.

Opening in its place Thursday is A Motown Celebration, with Broadway singer and actor Chester Gregory, who most recently played legendary music executive Berry Gordy Jr. in the Tony-nominated hit

Motown: The Musical. He and his band will perform hits from the bottomless Motown Records catalogue, and Gregory will share his personal experiences meeting and working with some of Motown’s iconic stars.

Known for his early 2000s portrayal of singer Jackie “Mr. Excitement” Wilson in The Jackie Wilson Story and, later, in the one-man show The Eve of Jackie (which was performed at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg in 2014 and 2018), Gregory played Seaweed J. Stubbs in Hairspray on Broadway in 2003.

His later Broadway credits include Cry-Baby, Dreamgirls, Tarzan and Sister Act.

A Motown Celebration will be onstage at freeFall Aug. 17 through Sept. 10. Tickets will be available here shortly.

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