'American Idol' finalist comes to Colorado Springs in 'Motown the Musical'

By Jen Mulson Updated: November 7, 2017 at 9:26 am • Published: November 4, 2017 0
photo - The love affair between Diana Ross and Berry Gordy is retold in "Motown the Musical," coming to Pikes Peak Center Tuesday and Wednesday. Courtesy.
The love affair between Diana Ross and Berry Gordy is retold in "Motown the Musical," coming to Pikes Peak Center Tuesday and Wednesday. Courtesy.

You might remember Trenyce from her fifth-place finish in season two of "American Idol," but after "Motown the Musical," she could live on in your memory as Diana Ross.

The golden-piped singer will play the iconic pop star in the show that visits Pikes Peak Center Tuesday and Wednesday. The musical, which made its debut on Broadway in 2013, is based on Berry Gordy's autobiography, "To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown," and recounts the history of his founding and running of the Motown record label, his romance with Ross and his relationships with musicians such as Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson.

It's a role Trenyce has felt destined to play in some way, shape or form. A few years back, she mulled doing her own one-woman show based on Ross but held back when folks around her told her to wait.

"My mom loved Diana Ross and always told me if I wanted to perform, she was the epitome of what to aim for," she said from a tour stop in Mason City, Iowa. "As an artist, you want to make sure you are bringing the most honest parts of her story on stage, and you're not adding anything or being too much of yourself. It's the one time I've had to dig a little deeper and remove myself and pay homage to her because she's still with us."

To inhabit the lead singer of The Supremes, which became Motown's most successful act and one of the world's best-selling all-female groups of all time, Trenyce had to plumb the depths of Ross' interviews and performances. She studied the singer's cadence, movements and her ability to "smile through every word," she said.

"Her reach out and touch moments are iconic. No matter what city or country she was in, she'd get out into that audience, which many didn't want to do at that time, and really touched the world."

Trenyce also isn't immune to the place of the musical within the current social climate. People are more open to change now, she said, but there's still work to be done. The musical asks the audience to consider its thoughts about race, why black music wasn't played on the radio or why black musicians had to go last. She finds every performance poignant, especially when the death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is addressed.

"I'm on the side of the stage thinking, 'Now we have a lot of names to add, like Trayvon (Martin) and Sandra Bland, and all these people to add to what's going on in the world,'" she said. "It's emotional. It gets there every night, that same point where you can kind of see that shift in the audience, but then you can hear the applause when Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' comes on. It's not just an iconic song, but an anthem for the world - to do better."

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