Berry Gordy Cloned by Clifton Oliver in 'Motown the Musical'

clifton oliver 2
Berry Gordy is unquestionably admired as the man who transformed the face of music for the entire world, and Clifton Oliver has the pleasure of playing him week after week in the critically acclaimed smash hit Broadway musical Motown the Musical.
Clifton’s Broadway credits have included some of theater’s most unforgettable productions including: Simba, the lead role in The Lion King; In The Heights’ Benny opposite “American Idol” alum and music phenomenon Jordin Sparks, and Fiyero in Wicked. With such an impressive on-stage repertoire, Clifton expanded his profile to appear on television, landing recurring  roles on episodes of NBC’s hit show “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.”
How did you get the role as one of the world’s biggest game changers in music, Berry Gordy?
I originally started off in the workshops as Marvin Gaye and I got to meet Mr. Gordy through that. However, it worked out that I was not able to play the role of Marvin Gaye. A few years later after the company opened I watched the show and realized I should play the role of Berry Gordy instead. So, I sent a letter in to the director asking if he ever reconsidered me for the show, I want to come in for the role of Berry Gordy …  I came into the audition where the director and Mr. Gordy agreed that I should play the role.
What is it you learned about these entertainment giants, Berry Gordy and Marvin Gaye that you and most of us did not know before?
That Mr. Gordy and Marvin Gaye were like father and son. I don’t know if a lot of people know that. Mr. Gordy pretty much protected Marvin. Marvin also was Mr. Gordy’s older sister’s lover. He was connected to Marvin via his career, via his love life and his personal life. The two of them had an interesting relationship. Mr. Gordy was protective of Marvin against his own father because of the issues his father had with Marvin as a person. And that’s one thing that’s not talked about much. … When Marvin was murdered by his father that was a big blow to Mr. Gordy.
What is it about Motown the Musical you appreciate the most?
To be honest, there has never truly been a musical piece about a black man turning nothing into something. So the fact that Mr. Gordy was able to put his story out the way he wanted it to be and told through his eyes is an amazing feat for African Americans in music theater period; that never happens. If they are interested in our stories its about slavery or being a pimp or something not positive. But this is a positive story about a man that changed the nation because he had an idea, a vision, a belief and he executed everything he wanted.
What do you love about Motown music?
That’s the funny thing about this show. There are young people in our show who don’t know Motown as well, but everyone loves the music. Every place we tour, you have the technicians singing along backstage, the stylist, the little kids singing. The music is so uplifting and makes you feel good.

From the Web