Q&A with “Ain’t Too Proud” Temptations Actor Harrell Holmes Jr.


Cool guys in shiny suits—that’s what first drew in 8-year-old Harrell Holmes Jr. And now he’s gone from singing “Ain’t Too Proud” at his third-grade talent show to playing one of the iconic singers in the Broadway production. Talk about manifesting your destiny. We caught up with Harrell before their run in Edmonton September 26–October 1.

Q: You’ve been preparing for this role your entire life. How’s that journey been for you?

A: I did my first performance in third grade doing “Ain’t Too Proud.” Then after, I got some friends together and we formed The Little Temptations in Michigan. We were performing all over the state, at different schools and districts.

From there, at the age of 11, I made it to Star Search which was filmed in LA, and I sang “Get Ready” by The Temptations. That was a dream come true. Also, American Idol, advanced to Hollywood and did “Ain’t Too Proud” again. Really, throughout my life, every major accomplishment or every major performance had something to do with The Temptations. For me to be playing a Temptation now is a childhood dream realized.

Q: What can you tell us about your Temptation?

A: I play Melvin Franklin, who was the first Temptation to join the group. Otis (the founding member)’s best friend, he was with the Temptations from a teenager all the way up to his death. He’s considered the best bass singer of all time. And he really was, I believe, the heart of the group. He brought all the harmonies together, which is what the Tempations were known for, and he was the energy and personality of the group.

Q: What’s your favourite part in the show?

A: A lot of it is so good. So good. I think one of my favourites is “I Can’t Get Next to You, which is the opening of the second act. I like that it gives each of the Temptations a solo and it allows all of our personalities to show.

Q: Why should people go see it? 

A: It’s the Temptations; it’s songs that everyone knows. These songs are played everywhere: the grocery store, commercials, the elevator. Not only do you get the chance to see these songs performed live, you get a chance to get transported back in time to this Motown era and see what these guys were like in their prime.

You also get a chance to see their backstory and maybe find out some things you didn’t know. Like how they all came together from the south as teenagers and how they had to navigate being superstars at a young age while still having families at home. Then also having to navigate a tumultuous time in the ‘60s where segregation was still a real thing. They were superstars still being shot at in the south.

Q: If you could go back in time to visit your 8-year-old self, what would you say?

A: To enjoy the journey of your life and to live in the moment because one day all your crazy dreams are gonna come true.


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