Ain't Too Proud" The Life and Times of the Temptations
Diana Exclusive Interview with Harrell Holmes JR

August 10, 2022



By: Diana Brang-Scott​

It was February 24th, 2020, two and a half years ago when the press was invited to The Roostertail in Detroit for an evening of cocktails, hor d’oevers and a sneak peek at AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS. Detroit’s own Dominique Morisseau, the shows writer and award-winning playwright and the legendary Otis Williams, founding and current member of the Temptations were the guests of honor. The room was buzzing with excitement, the opening of the national tour was going to being here in Detroit- the home of Motown, the city where it all began…. But little did we know covid had other plans for all of us….

Finally, the wait is over! Fast forward two years and Broadway In Detroit is thrilled to announce the First National Tour of AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS, will make its Detroit Premiere at the Detroit Opera House August 9-28 as part of its 60th Anniversary Season!

This Broadways smash hit musical will feature over 30 songs. AIN’T TOO PROUD is the electrifying new musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their signature dance moves and unmistakable harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one and being voted the greatest R&B group of all time by Billboard Magazine in 2017. The rest is history — how they met, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest. This thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal is set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” and many more.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Michigan native Harrell Holmes Jr, and if you are a Temptations fan you know exactly who he is playing the moment he speaks. (Que the bass drop) Harrell’s booming baritone voice makes him the perfect Melvin Franklin (AKA Blue).

Harrell was born and raised in Saginaw, and I am pretty sure he has manifested his role in this musical all the way back to his childhood. With enthusiasm and passion bellowing from his deep voice he said, “The reason I began singing was because of the Temptations. When I was 6 years old, I saw the mini-series about them on TV, and I got this crazy idea in my head that I could actually become a Temptation”, he said laughing. Harrell went on to sing “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” in his 3rd grade talent show and from there he formed his own singing group called ‘The Little Temptations’ and they performed all over Michigan. At age 12 his first big break was on Star Search where he performed “Get Ready.” He said, “The Temptations were always in my life, and I feel blessed to be part of this musical.” His mother and biggest supporter packed up his family and moved to LA to pursue his dream. Harrell is a Motown and Stevie Wonder Scholarship winner and went on to chase the dream and perfect his skills graduating from AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) He said, “When I first saw the musical AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS I knew I needed to be part of it. This role is everything I have ever wanted and more.”

I asked Harrell if he got the opportunity to meet Otis? He said, “Yes, I did. It was on the first day of rehearsals and I got off the elevator and Otis was the first person I saw.’ I was like oh my god it’s such a pleasure to meet you!’ He smiled and said, ‘oh I know who you are playing, you are playing Melvin. I can tell by your voice.’ Harrell laughed and said, “It was incredible, I lost my mind. Otis was so cool, he and Shelly Berger (the original Manager of the Temptations) spent over 2 hours with us sharing stories and details, I could listen to him talk all day.”

I asked Harrell is Otis gave him any words of advice? “Yes, he told us that we were going to see what it was like to be a Temptation in real time, and he said be prepared with doing this show you’re going to experience things in this country that are going to test you and weigh on you both mentally, and physically. We unfortunately experienced this firsthand, the cast was in Buffalo when the shooting happened. It was just 2 miles away from us.” There are scenes in the show where the Temptations experience violence and racism. Harrell went on to say, “At that moment we knew exactly what Otis had meant, and what it was like to be these black artists during a tumultuous time and unfortunately, we still go though it today.”

This musical AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS is going to take you a ride through history and shine a spotlight on the human perspectives from the guys themselves. I think Otis said it best, “Its not going to just be all about the hits, or the flashy moves, or the staging. It will show the human piece, so when the audience walks out after the show, they are going to say, ‘wow they really lived all that.’”

I asked Harrell if there was a message for the audience in the show? He said, “Music and love are what unifies us all. The message for the audience is how these men have sacrificed basically their lives for music and how it was the most important thing, and it would outlive them all. We get the chance today to reap the benefits and they lived through the crazy times of Jim Crow and segregated audiences, and now we can experience it all and come together, race, age nothings matter in that theater. Just the great music and the love that we get to spread to the people watching.”

Come out and see Harrell and the entire cast of AIN’T TOO PROUD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at, by phone at 800-982-2787, and in person at the Fisher Theatre Box Office

For more information, please visit and the tour’s social media channels: