By Patty Fantasia
Motown Extreme is Extremely Entertaining
The critically acclaimed Motown Extreme musical revue is a true family affair playing to full houses Wednesday through Sunday at 5pm in the Night Owl Showroom at Hooters Hotel Casino. Word is getting around about the production that recently rocked the Las Vegas Black Music Awards scoring wins in four categories: Best Male Performer, Best Vocal Group, Best Live Performance and Best Showroom Production of the Year. The praise and accolades are well deserved for the high energy gem featuring a treasure trove of Motown’s most memorable songs including Shotgun, Midnight Train to Georgia, Jackson Five classics such as I Want You Back, ABC, Never Can Say Goodbye, I’ll Be There and Dancing Machine, the timeless I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get it on and Diana Ross and the Supremes hits Can’t Hurry Love, Baby Love, You Keep Me Holding On and Stop in the Name of Love.
Created and produced by international performers Ausar and Aset Bragg, the Extreme showcases their combined artistic abilities along with the talents of their three sons: Prince Jahally Bragg (J Royal), who at 14 dazzles with his rendition of Michael Jackson favorites, 16 year old Prince Taharka (Mr. Spotlight) and the eldest 19-year old Prince La’eeq (Hi-En). Ausar and Aset met in Nagoya, Japan in 1994 while on tour in different performing art companies and already had an impressive list of credits before joining forces.
A set performed with top acts including Shakira, Ziggy Marley, Djavan, whose videos she also choreographed. In addition, she was the 1993 Queen of Carnival in San Paulo, Brazil and had a dancing contract with C&A Collection from 1994-1998.
An accomplished singer, songwriter performer and producer, Ausar is originally from LA and began pursuing his passion for entertainment at the age of eight when he first saw Michael Jackson perform on television. In 1979 he became one of the lead singers for a five-member singing group called Seville opening for major acts like the Dramatics, Melba Moore and Billy Paul until he left to pursue a solo career in 1987. After performing, producing and songwriting with other artists including Brian O’Neal and former Temptation member Ali-Ollie Woodson, Ausar was given the opportunity to travel to Japan and other Asian cities and perform as an international entertainer.
Deciding it was time to stop traveling around the world the couple settled down and began raising a family in Los Angeles before moving to Las Vegas. All three of their sons started singing, dancing, acting, rapping and performing at a young age in musical plays.
J. Royal claims that the very first time he saw the legendary King of Pop he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life and said he has always dreamed of being the star of a major production.
Photo courtesy of Motown Extreme
Working constantly to be “Triple Threats” singing, dancing and acting, all three brothers are currently at work on a CD featuring original songs. Aside from developing these talents their parents firmly believe in dedicating time to furthering their educational pursuits and maintaining good grades in school. Furthermore, they believe in trying to enrich the lives of others less fortunate than themselves. In fact, Ausar and Aset have been doing community work for over 20 years and founded AIP (Anything is Possible, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization associated with food banks and Toys for Tots programs. In 2011, Ausar opened AIP Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas, which provides classes, tutoring, and workshops in the performance arts here locally.
The script for Motown Extreme was created in 2007 when Ausar relocated to Las Vegas, but the review didn’t make its debut until 2014. In the interim he joined “Hitsville: The Show” portraying Marvin Gaye for over seven years. When Extreme did premiere it moved around to several venues including the Inspire Theater on Fremont Street, which it called home for a year, before settling in at Hooters in 2018. Ausar explains that the idea behind the show was to bring together audiences of all ages who would enjoy a production featuring a mix of music, song, dance, entertainment, magic, acrobats and more. Aset also acts as the review’s costume designer and choreographer in addition to performing.
Aside from the Bragg family, the talented cast includes: lead singer Patrice Compton, background singers Marq Wynn, Devin Haynes, Merald Bubba Knight (nephew of Gladys Knight), lead/background singers Joseph Cross and William Jordan, dancer Luana Machado, Emcee Nathaniel Bridewell, pianist Wayne White, drummer Robert Shipley, Juice Jones on Bass and Musical Director Felton Pilate.
One challenge the Braggs faced in developing the show was creating a production that is unique from all of the other offerings on the Las Vegas Strip. They have succeeded in keeping the show fresh and exciting setting acts to music guaranteed to strike a chord with people of all ages regardless of whether they are trying to learn more about the Motown Sound or take a trip back down memory lane.
The end result is an engaging production that keeps audiences moving in their seats and singing along as they enjoy the ensemble performing classics from Michael Jackson & The Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Temptations and more. The voices are strong, the choreography and staging creative and the entertainment non-stop adding up to a heartwarming journey showcasing some of the highlights that made Motown great. Motown Extreme is an absolute delight and extremely entertaining.