Magic of Motown at Reach Out
Super group Spectrum dazzles audiences with great sounds and moves. The Spectrum quartet are all singers in their own right and they sure can dance.
Denise Carter catches up with singer, actor and founding member Cushney Roberts, who spent six stellar years recreating the sound and style of The Four Tops in multi-million dollar production shows American Superstars and Legends in Concert.
Now Reach Out - A Journey Through Motown is the one to get audiences dancing in the aisles.
WHERE ARE YOU AT THE MOMENT?
I’m in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are off right now. We don’t perform quite as much as we used to. We’ve just been on a Caribbean cruise and are now just getting ready for a show with a symphony orchestra in Massachusetts. Then there are more cruises, and then we’re back in Vegas.I READ YOU CAME LATE IN LIFE TO MUSIC. TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY.
It was great. When I was nine I was a soprano in a church choir. Then I learned to play the trombone and guitar and I even took bookings for my own singing group to perform at parties. I went through college and at first music was a hobby. Then we put together a group and we were working professionally while I was working at a real job. So I was moonlighting and performing while working in my corporate job (as a corporate engineer) for about 10 years. Then I made the move to Las Vegas to become a performer full time.WHY MOTOWN?
I grew up with Motown. It was prevalent when I was growing up. It was the soundtrack of my life, and the soundtrack for anyone born in the baby boomer era. I love it because of the quality of the music and the strong impact and concerted effort put into the presentations of the songs. They all happen to have been popular in America when we had the Vietnam marches, and the civil rights and women’s rights movements. People associate the soundtrack with historic events.TELL ME ABOUT THIS SHOW – WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN STORE FOR US?
Oh boy, you are going to be taken on a journey through Motown’s hits and with all the costumes. We have music from The Stylistics, The Crystals, Dan and Dave, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. All of the members of the group have had solo shows and are confident of carrying a lead, and there is choreography as well. We stay on stage for the entire time. We’ve done much of this material for years and years in different orders. The choreography for these songs is different, so we’ve different routines, and they are not just ones with touch stamping from left to right.DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE GROUP WHOSE NUMBERS YOU SING?
My personal favourite is The Four Tops. There are so many great songs and they are all top 10 hits.WILL YOU HAVE A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IN AUSTRALIA OR A BAND?
There is a live band, a quartet. They are Australian musicians and we have worked with some of them before.WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I enjoy meeting people from all over the world. We have been in Las Vegas for five years or so. Then there are a lot of tours, a lot of friendships, plenty of travel, and then there’s presenting music and shows that make people smile and make them feel good.DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CELEBRITY/IES THAT YOU HAVE MET?
I did meet The Four Tops, which was really exciting.HOW DO YOU AND THE OTHER GUYS GET ON?
We have a great time. We performed in Australia in December, 2011, so this is our second time. We have all been really pleased to do the show because sometimes we have different projects and solo projects, but we are all set for the show and all focused. We don’t always hang out together.
Each person likes something different. I like to get out of doors, so I like beaches and swimming in the ocean. I’m the only one. Some like sightseeing or going to a nightclub here and there. I’m sure the experienced Australian band will expose us to what’s best to see and do.HOW DO YOU BALANCE ACTING AND PERFORMING IN SPECTRUM?
I haven’t done much acting since Spectrum started. I just happened into acting and got good parts (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Broadway, guest TV role on Donahue), but music is my first love.WHAT IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE SHOW?
There are songs that consistently seem to be crowd pleasers, but it changes in places, so I’m not going to say something is a show stopper and then when we go to a place, it isn’t.ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY ABOUT THE SHOW?
I would like to encourage people to come out and see the shows. They are very exciting and people will know all the songs, so they can enjoy watching the presentation. It is a great show and it is a lot of fun.
Spectrum performs Reach Out: A Journey through Motown on March 13 at 7.30pm, Cairns Civic Theatre.
Tickets: Adults $55, seniors $50, group 10+ $50, children $30.
Ph: 1300 855 835.
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