CAPE MAY – The audience members will be “dancing in their seats” when Martha and The Vandellas perform at the Cape May Summer Concert Series on Monday, July 31. The show will be held at Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave., Cape May, beginning at 8 p.m.
In 1963, Martha Reeves proved that she deserved to be in the limelight. After working as an administrator in the A & R Department at Motown Records, filling in for singers who missed recording sessions and singing backup for Marvin Gaye, Reeves and the Vandellas scored three consecutive hits of their own with “Come and Get These Memories,” “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand.” The following years brought personnel changes to The Vandellas, but Reeves’ soulful voice and undeniable stage presence remained constant. In 1964, the group recorded its biggest hit, “Dancing in the Street,” which reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
A string of other hits, including “Nowhere to Run,” “I’m Ready for Love” and “Jimmy Mack,” followed. For more than three decades, performances of Martha and The Vandellas have been family affairs, as Reeves is backed by her sisters, Lois, who joined the group in 1967, and Delphine, who joined in 1980.
Reeves’ versatility as a performer could be seen in her performances in the United States tour of the Tony-winning “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” as well as “The Jackie Wilson Story” and “Good Black Don’t Crack.” She co-starred for three seasons in the UK stage review “Dancing in the Street,” alongside Motown peers like the late Edwin Starr, Mary Wilson and Freda Payne. In 2004, Reeves made her opera debut singing with the Motor City Lyric Opera.
In 1995, Martha and the Vandellas was the second all-female group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “Dancing in the Street” has been entered into the Library of Congress Registry of Historical Recordings and the Grammy Hall of Fame. In addition, Reeves has received the Dinah Washington Award, a Rhythm n’ Blues Foundation Pioneer Award and a Black Woman in Publishing Legends Award, and has been inducted into the Alabama, Soul, Rock and Roll, and Vocal Group halls of fame. Martha Reeves and the Vandellas are listed among Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Immortal Artists.”
Tickets for this and all other summer concerts are $42 for reserved seats and can be purchased in person at Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave., or online at DiscoverCapeMayNJ.com. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/capemaycity and follow us on Twitter @capemaycity. For more information, call (609) 884-9563 or (609) 884-9565.