The Broadway musical sensation Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations will welcome Nik Walker and Matt Manuel to the jukebox hit playing Broadway’s Imperial Theatre. Respectively, they will step into the roles of Otis Williams and David Ruffin, originated by Tony Award-nominated actors Derrick Baskin and Ephraim Sykes (who will play their final performance on February 26, 2020). Walker and Manuel enter the production on February 28.
Director Des McAnuff weighed-in on the new cast members, “Everyone is ecstatic to have Nik and Matt join Ain’t Too Proud in these iconic roles. Nik brings an extensive theater background, most recently as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, and is the perfect fit to lead our cast as Otis Williams. I’ve known Nik since he was a graduate student at NYU and worked with him at La Jolla Playhouse. I couldn’t be more excited about welcoming him to the company. Matt is an exciting discovery, a bonafide triple threat, coming straight from The Temptations’ hometown of Detroit. It’s dazzling to watch him step elegantly into the role of David Ruffin.”
Nik Walker has appeared on Broadway in Hamilton, as well as in productions of Motown and Peter and the Starcatcher. Matt Manuela singer/songwriter from Detroit, Michigan, and is excited to be making his Broadway debut in Ain’t Too Proud. He was last seen making his professional acting debut as Marvin Gaye in the Touring Cast of Motown: The Musical.
“We will always be grateful to Derrick and Ephraim, who have paved the way so beautifully for us since the beginning, and will forever be a part of our family,” said lead producers Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce.
Winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography (Sergio Trujillo), Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations is “the electrifying new musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their signature dance moves and unmistakable harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one. The rest is history — how they met, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest.”
The score for Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations includes “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and many other chart-climbing hits. Ain’t Too Proud has a book by three-time Obie Award-winner Dominique Morisseau. Des MsAnuff directed.
Nik Walker and Matt Manuel join James Harkness as Paul Williams, Jawan M. Jackson as Melvin Franklin, and Jelani Remy as Eddie Kendricks as The Temptations. Ain’t Too Proud also features Esther Antoine, Saint Aubyn, Shawn Bowers, E. Clayton Cornelious, Tiffany Francès, Taylor Symone Jackson, Marcus Paul James, Jahi Kearse, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Jarvis B. Manning, Jr., Morgan McGhee, Joshua Morgan, Christian Thompson, Correy West, Drew Wildman Foster, Curtis Wiley, Jamari Johnson Williams, and Candice Marie Woods.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, released on October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
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