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A bit of Motown in New York

You know those umpteen sweepstakes that always promise you those dream getaways, and you eagerly enter, say a ‘pretty, please’ to the Universe and then daydream, fingers crossed? Turns out, sweepstakes aren’t really a black hole of entries. Real people do win sweepstakes. Really! Last month, I won a trip to New York to watch the new Broadway show ‘Motown the Musical’ recently after clicking into a Facebook promotion at the last minute.

I couldn’t believe it when I got the winner notification in my email. I actually checked for scams on the internet before I realized this was a Ticketmaster sponsored sweepstakes, and was safe. We were going to New York! We were going to watch our first Broadway show! And it wasn’t a show I knew nothing about—I had grown up listening to some of the artists featured in the show! I felt like pumping my fists in the air and bursting into a Michael Jackson-style, “ow!” And I did.

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The paperwork was surprisingly simple, and my contact at Ticketmaster, Jessica King, seamlessly coordinated all aspects of the trip—the paperwork, the flights, hotels and of course, the show. Right from our accommodation at the popular Sheraton Times Square Hotel to our romantic dinner at the Glass House Tavern, the trip was planned to pamper us and make this a getaway we’d always remember fondly.

Although we obviously knew about Berry Gordy’s life, we didn’t know just how much he had achieved until the show told his story, delightfully woven in with lively music and witty dialogue. We had the best seats in the house, which felt more like a medley of concerts. We were enthralled by the sheer multitude of colorful sets and beautiful, captivating characters. The actors were multi-talented—they moved with the groove, sang as well as their characters and gave us a remarkable déjà vu of watching music videos of legends such as the young Jackson Five, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder on MTV many many years ago. They even involved the audience in some numbers and made it feel like a real concert, showing us just how deeply they had stepped into their characters’ shoes.

And then came the best part—meeting the cast! Kristen Rathbun from spotnyc.com took us backstage and we were amazed at how small it was; the entire backstagWP_20130315_016e area was probably as big as the stage itself, and it had been shared by the multitude of the cast, the crew and the sets! It was exhilarating to meet the friendly Valisia Lekae, dressed in a modest white sweater when we’d just seen her as a diva in a dazzling golden dress, taking the spotlight with her easy confidence and making us forget that this wasn’t the real Diana Ross. Playing the sometimes funny, sometimes poignant Smokie Robinson, Charl Brown was talkative and cheerful. Everyone we met was so warm and made us feel really welcome, and one of them, Jamal, had actually gone into the trouble of learning to say my ridiculously difficult, 14-letter first name! Seriously, even I can’t say it right all the time!

WP_20130315_015My husband and I are West Coasters, so we always find excuses to postpone that long-pending trip to the East Coast—their winters are too cold and our summers are too beautiful to miss. And so it took a gentle nudge from Lady Luck to fulfil our wish to see a Broadway show. Thank you to the folks at Ticketmaster, Funjet, Sheraton and of course, Motown’s cast for making our first Broadway show an unforgettable experience—we’re thoroughly spoiled!

To top it all off, our return journey had a stop-over in Detroit. As we looked out the window from the slick airport, we felt a fond connection to a city we’ve never ever stepped foot in—after all, we’d just seen a part of Motown’s soul.

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Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.

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