IT is one of the most successful shows in London’s West End and now the team behind Motown the Musical are holding open auditions in Manchester at the weekend as it prepares to tour the UK for the first time.

Producers are looking for black and mixed-race boys, aged between 8-13 to play Little Michael Jackson, Little Stevie Wonder and Little Berry Gordy and for performers aged over 18 to portray the iconic stars of the Motown era.

Motown the Musical is currently in its third year at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre. It tells the story of Berry Gordy and how he built up the Motown Record label, producing some of the most iconic pop songs of all time in the process.

The show comes to Manchester Opera House in February.

Adam Spiegel, the show’s producer, said: “When you are casting a show like Motown, you want to make sure you look everywhere. Remember, this is story of creation of Motown and the people who emerged from Motown as superstars weren’t necessarily trained performers.

“Marvin Gaye came in off the street; the Temptations were singing on street corners. For a show like Motown it’s entirely appropriate to see what talent is out there that isn’t already in the theatre industry.”

Adam said he was particularly pleased to bring the auditions to Manchester.

“The problem with theatre generally is that you tend to just see the people who are already in the industry,” he said. “This feels like an opportunity to see what talent is out there that is currently hidden.

“The theatre industry is based in London but there should be an opportunity for performers who have not migrated to London to show what they can do.

“We have pretty much always found our young Michael Jackson and young Stevie Wonder from auditions and I’d like to think we will find principle members of cast from it too.”

“Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, has been heavily involved in the musical.

“It’s his story,” said Adam. “There are very few pieces of musical theatre where it’s the story of someone who is still alive. We have to tell that story honestly and accurately.

“He‘s been a considerable presence in my life for the last 10 years.

“He’s now in his late 80s and is sharp as a whip. As far as I can see, in every room I have ever been with him he has quite clearly been the smartest man there.

“It’s been a privilege to spend some time with someone who has achieved such an extraordinary legacy.

“He insists on the very highest standards and that’s why he created Motown. There was no room for compromise or anything other than absolute excellence.”

Although packed with classic Motown songs, the show is not a typical ‘jukebox’ musical, accurately telling the story of Berry Gordy’s rise from factory worker to music mogul.

“Manchester actually features in the show,” said Adam. “It was one of the cities the Motown Review visited in the UK and I won’t spoil the story but an important event happened in Manchester which is covered in the show.”

Open auditions will be held at Manchester Opera House on Saturday from 10am to 1pm. Registration opens at 9am. Adult auditions run from 2pm to 5pm with registration from 1pm.

Motown the Musical, Manchester Opera House, February 26 to March 23. Details from 0844 871 3018 or