The sole surviving original member of the Temptations got emotional watching the new musical about his legendary Motown group. “When I saw my life story, I was touched and moved,” Otis Williams tells Closer Weekly in a new exclusive interview. “Not only by what I’ve gone through but also the brilliance of the kids [performing it] and how they’re touching everyone’s emotions.”
On Feb. 28, Broadway preview audiences will share Otis’ joy when they experience Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations, the culmination of his 18-year journey to bring 58 years of his group’s ups and downs to the stage. It’s toured the US to raves, and like his band, it’s filled with drama.
“We had to try to capture the times of the original Temps,” the 77-year-old says. But Otis assures it doesn’t take too much dramatic license, noting that “everything is what actually happened.”
The musical is told through Otis’ eyes, but he didn’t sanitize the vision of writer Dominique Morisseau and director Des McAnuf. “If you’re going to tell the story, then tell it in its real truism,” Otis says.
That includes the suicide of founding 1960–71 member Paul Williams, the firing of David Ruffin due to drug addiction, and more. “We haven’t shied away from the truth — that’s all there,” McAnuff tells Closer. “But there’s plenty of sunshine, and audiences are on their feet after every performance.”
Despite the tragedies it depicts, the show is part of a happy ending Otis could never have expected. It inspired the group’s new album, All the Time. And, according to Otis, Ira Pittelman — who’s producing with Amadeus’ Oscar-nominated actor Tom Hulce — “the next phase will definitely be a movie.” That seems destined to put millions more Temptations fans on cloud nine, which is something that shocks Otis every time. “I had no idea we’d be loved all these years later,” he confesses.
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