"Dancing in the Streets" Patrice Covington of 'Motown the Musical'

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What is the best way to have all your Motown icons together in the same room? A ticket to ‘Motown the Musical’ which premiered on Oct. 22 at the Fisher Theater. Michigan Chronicle staff spoke with Patrice Covington , one of three performers interviewed as part of our ‘Motown the Musical’ series. Covington plays dual roles, Edna Anderson, who at the beginning of the Motown Empire was a black activist and later as Berry Gordy’s right hand woman. She embodies Martha Reeves night after night singing the legendary hot song, “Dancing In the Streets.” Critics from coast to coast will tell you Patrice’s energetic and unforgettable performance as legendary Martha Reeves is a must see!
Patrice has graced stages all across the world including the Bahamas and Japan and has been seen nationwide belting tunes with the super stars like Ruben Studdard. Patrice and Ruben along with other
American Idol contestants toured the United States with the Broadway National tour of the Tony award-winning show ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’. The dynamic songstress also set stages ablaze with the critically acclaimed play, ‘The Book of Mormon’ and her stellar performance portraying the legendary role of “Effie White” in Broadway’s Dreamgirls, the same role made famous by Jennifer Holiday and Jennifer Hudson. With such a vast background in the entertainment industry it’s clear to see it’s definitely up her ally. “ To have the support of everyone that I live out my passion is such a blessing,” says Covington.
When did you discover you wanted to pursue a career in the performing arts no matter the obstacles?
I’m from Virginia and at about 20 years old I as attending school and working summers at Bush Gardens. There was talent from all over the United States that would come in to sing and dance at the theme park and I became really close friends with them. I hadn’t had a strong background in performance arts, however, I got bitten by this audition bug and my friends in NY encouraged me to come there and do auditions. I took a semester off school and told my parents I would return if I did not book something by the Spring semester. As it happened I did and have not looked back. I also, finished school as I was on tour with ‘Dreamgirls’.
How were you able to capture the essence of your characters?

Mr. Gordy was a huge help. For my character as Martha Reeves, he told me how he discovered her and allowed me to ask him questions about who and what type of person she was. I take all that information and make it my own through that. For the part of Edna Anderson she and I were able to speak often on the phone which allowed me to capture her southern West Virginian draw, as well as her sassyness and elegance.
What are some of your favorite Motown artists/songs?
The Jacksons, Marvin Gaye and Dianna Ross. I listened to their songs with my parents growing up.

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