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Feb. 3, 2017

 

 

Motown The Musical  
 Chester Gregory as Berry Gordy (center) and the cast of “Motown The Musical” will perform March 28—April  2 at the Murat at Old National Centre.
 
 
 
The last time we last saw Raymond Davis Jr. on stage, he was
singing the Jackson Five holiday classic “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” during
the annual Circle of Lights program on Monument Circle in November.

 

Before that, he was Mufasa in “The Lion King Jr.” during the
end-of-year production in May at the former Nicholson Performing Arts Academy School
70 (now Edison School of the Arts School 47).Raymond Davis Jr.

 

Since then, Raymond has graduated to much larger stages. The
12-year-old Indianapolis native and IPS student is touring across the country
in the Broadway hit “Motown The
Musical.”
Based on the life of Motown founder and music mogul Berry Gordy,
Raymond stars as the younger versions of Gordy, Michael Jackson and Stevie
Wonder.

 

It’s a dream role for the sixth-grader — one that will bring
him back home when the musical heads to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
for an eight-day run, March 28 through April 2. The tour began in January.

 

“I’m so excited to perform at home. I can’t wait for my
friends and family to see me on stage,” said Raymond, who will star in the opening
night show in Indianapolis. He will perform in additional shows while the
musical is in town, but shares the role with another young actor. They take
turns playing Gordy, Jackson and Wonder.

 

With his laid-back demeanor, Raymond has a way of making his
road to the big leagues look and sound easy. But he and his family have worked
hard to get to this point — traveling for auditions, creating and sending out
audition tapes, taking acting classes via Skype, weathering rejection letters —
all while maintaining his school work.

 

So when his mom, Victoria, received notice that “Motown” producers
wanted to see him for a face-to-face audition, Raymond was over the moon.

 

“I was feeling great! We were at Texas Roadhouse for my
birthday when my agent called my mom saying that they wanted to fly me out to
New York,” said Raymond. “They liked my audition, and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ My
dad and I went to New York and I did my audition, and they loved me.”

 

Since landing his role in “Motown,” a lot has changed for
the Davis family. Dad, Raymond Davis Sr., quit his job to be on the road with
his son, while mom remains in Indianapolis to run the family’s day-care
business. The family stays in touch daily through phone calls and FaceTime
three or four times a day, when time allows.

 

It’s a sacrifice, but one everyone is willing to make to
help Raymond Jr. fulfill his dreams.

 

“For me to be here with him is amazing,” said Raymond Sr.
“Watching him on stage that first night was like the circle of life. … I just
get chills every time he goes on stage. We pray every night and always put God
first, and that always makes it a lot easier. I just let him do what he does
and let him enjoy himself.”

 

Raymond Jr. enjoys the quality time he’s spending with his
dad.

 

“It’s great having my dad with me on the road. He really
brings me up sometimes when I’m down and pushes me to keep going,” said Raymond
Jr. While on the road, he has developed a daily routine of morning workouts
with his father to maintain his stamina for shows, working with his tutor and
rehearsals. He even plays online videogames with his friends from school when
time allows.

 

Although the work and being away from his mom is
challenging, Raymond Jr. is loving every minute of his time on the road and on
stage. “(Being in the show) is actually fun and hard at the same time,” he
said. “Overall, I love doing what I do. I really love singing and dancing and
just showing the crowd what I can do.”

 

Since the tour kicked off, Raymond Jr. has had family in the
audience in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. His mom saw the show for the first time
on Feb. 1 in Los Angeles. She watched with tears in her eyes.

 

“The show is awesome and everyone in the show is so
talented,” said Victoria Davis, who admits to missing her son while he’s on the
road — especially his hugs and morning kisses. “I couldn’t be more proud of
Raymond. It’s a blessing to see him living his dreams. He’s so passionate about
what he does. I am a proud mom!”

 

Other family members will see the show in Norfolk, Atlanta,
Tampa and, of course, Indianapolis. Victoria Davis said they’re making sure
friends and family are at every show he performs while in Indianapolis.

 

“Motown The Musical” is 2 hours and 40 minutes, with a
15-minute intermission. The tour is scheduled to end in late August.  For tickets, click here.