If you haven’t heard, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations is one of the season’s biggest hits. Running through Sunday at the Providence Performing Arts Center, the musical has earned enthusiastic reviews both nationally and locally.

We met a couple of the stars of the show earlier this week at a press conference at PPAC. Both shared their excitement about being a part of the touring production. “We’re on our 117th show,” said Michael Andreaus who plays Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. “It’s been an amazing opportunity.”

Deri’Andra Tucker and Michael Andreaus (Photo: Ken Abrams)

“We love being a true ensemble,” continued Andreaus, “not only is everybody ready when it’s their moment, but everybody is ready to step back and let somebody else have their moment. You don’t always get that. It’s a really great group.”

Deri’Andra Tucker, who plays Diana Ross in the musical reflected on the tumultuous times The Temptations lived through.

“There was a lot of turmoil, they are such mythical figures but they were also human beings. They went through trials and tribulations. We tend to glamorize them and say everything is great,” Tucker noted.

Deri’Andra Tucker (Photo: Ken Abrams)

“Some of those things they went through are actually very relevant today, it’s sad to see that we’re still dealing with some of those issues, it (the show) really does educate and entertain at the same time,” said Tucker.

Ain’t Too Proud has a lot of audience participation with fans singing along to the soundtrack. “The show is like a concert,” said Tucker.

 “That feedback, that back and forth is really the heart of this story. The interplay between the audience and the actors is really what makes it such a great experience. We enjoy the comments from the audience and the singing along and all that,” added Andreaus.

Tucker’s character enters the story about halfway through the first act, and no doubt, it’s a Dinna Ross style entrance. “When we’re getting ready to perform, the other cast members say right when we come out, there’s like an audible gasp from the audience. We can’t hear it ’cause we’re on stage … it gives me chills every time,” said Tucker.

The show is connecting with audiences of all ages.

Michael Andreaus (Photo: Ken Abrams)

“The music is so timeless,” explained Andreaus. “The original tracks, they have no end. They’ve been used so much over the years so even if you don’t know the original song, you know the hook. Maybe you’ve heard it used in a backing track, maybe a hip-hop song, or you’ve heard the melody used in another R&B song by another artist.”

“I love the way music kind of recycles in that way, not just for people who originally enjoyed it, but it can have an even longer life then when it first started. It just touches everybody. It’s just such a rollercoaster of emotion.”

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations is running through Sunday April 17. Click here for tickets.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.