â€œMr. Postman Twistinâ€ Away at Lehman Center via the Marvelettes
The Marvelettes open for Dennis Edwards and the Temptations at Lehman Ccenter for the Performing Arts in the Bronx.
Paula Anderson, lead singer for the Marvelettes, took
time out of her busy schedule to talk to this journalist about her upcoming show
at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts as the opening act for Dennis Edwards
and the Temptations Revue on Saturday, April 9 at 8:00 p.m.
The Marvelettes have a long history starting back in the
1960s in Detroit when Gladys Horton and Georgia Dobbins put together 4 singers
in high school. Dobbins had to leave the
group due to family issues early on but others like Wanda Rogers, Georgeanna
Tillman, Wyanette Cowart and Katherine Anderson joined later as did others.
“Being in Detroit and around the home of music, just
about everyone thought they wanted to be part of the music biz back then. I personally started in the group in
2000. I went to an audition. I went in thinking I knew it all. Once I got there, I thought this is Motown
and to be a part of that is something special.
So, I did what I needed to do. I
went to several auditions and I finally got through the door and it’s been
wonderful ever since. Motown was very
particular about who carried on the Marvelettes’ name. As a Marvelette, the others and myself have
made sure to keep the integrity of the music.
I learned a lot from the lead singer at the time I started with the
group. Thus, when she stepped down, I
was able to step up and take her place.
Motown is loved universally. It
shaped music in a very big way” said Paula who is performing nightly with The Marvelettes
in Las Vegas at the Rio’s Crown Theatre where they share the bill with The
Platters and the Coasters in between going out on the road.
Marvelettes made history as the very first girl group selected by Berry Gordy
to sing for Motown. One can say the
Marvelettes set the tone for the girl groups who followed like the Supremes and
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. The public snapped up over a million copies of the
Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" which became a big hit for them. The Marvelettes had an 8 year run on the
Billboard Music charts. They scored 23
Billboard Hot 100 singles. Of these
hits, 3 were top pop singles, 9 were top R&B singles and their debut song
was #1 on both charts. Smokey Robinson
wrote some of the Marvelette’s hit songs. “Smokey Robinson wrote “Don’t Mess
with Bill,” and “The Hunter Captured by the Game.” With Motown it was about being a
family. Artists from the label worked
with other artists. Marvin Gaye also worked with us. Many may not know that Marvin played the
drums. He played drums on some of our
songs. Oftentimes various Motown artists
became part of each other’s projects” explained the Marvelette’s lead singer.
“We have been abroad and it’s been
wonderful to have the opportunity to travel.
We went to Austria, Canada and Mexico.
Being part of the Marvelettes has afforded me that opportunity. I am fortunate that my husband is in the
business so he understands. It makes it all
the more wonderful to come home to him after traveling.
The current Marvelettes are Paula Anderson (lead)
originally from Queens who has been with the group 11 years. California’s Sarah
Melensum (spelling of names unconfirmed) has been with the Marvelettes for 8 years
and New Yorker Tanja Foster who has also been with the group 8 years as
well. Other singers who may sing with
the Marvelettes at Lehman Center are Deborah Sherman and Annette Bland McCoy. “We have a wonderful rapport together. When you are out on the road you look out for
one another. We get out there and do our
jobs while having fun at the same time” said Paula of her relationship with her
fellow Marvelettes. “I love the music
and the fact we are still out there performing this type of music. There is a big demand for it. We are always happy to see young people at
our concerts that come out to hear our music with their parents and
The Marvelettes will be singing the song Beachwood 4-5789
(1962) for the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts audience. “You know some of the men in the audience have
approached us and said they actually called the Beachwood number. I think some of these gentlemen expected us
to answer. I can’t tell you where
Beachwood 4-5789 will connect but it’s definitely a phone number,” chuckled
Anderson. “We love the grace, romance
and elegance of the 1960s era. When we
are on stage we dress from the era. We
wear the big hair wigs, the jewelry and 60’s clothes. It is a lot of fun getting ready for the
show. We even do some of the dances. We
do a skit with the men in the audience when we sing our song “Don’t Mess with
Bill.” We love our shows. We interact
with the audience and get a lot of feedback from our audiences after the show,
telling us how much fun they had. ”
Those interested in tickets for the Marvelettes and
Dennis Edwards and the Temps can call the Lehman Center Box Office at
718-960-8833 for Saturday, April 9th or go online at www.LehmanCenter.org. Those driving to Lehman Center for the
Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park West in the Bronx, can park for