Returning to Broadway after a thirteen year absence in the lead role of a popular musical is nerve-wracking enough. But how about finding out during intermission that your pregnant wife is having contractions?
Actor Josh Tower, who stepped into the lead role of Berry Gordy in Motown The Musical on June 17, hadn’t appeared on Broadway since Ragtime closed in 2000. During his first performance he received word from his wife Karen during intermission that she was having contractions. While Tower was on stage during the second Act, Karen informed a stage manager via text that she was off to the hospital to give birth to the couple’s second child. Tower, who describes the whole experience as “insane,” praised his wife, saying, “She said, ‘No, don’t tell Josh until the show’s done. He has to be able to do this. She’s just a rock.”
Of course, as soon as the show was over Tower was informed and he rushed to the hospital. He recalls, “The curtain comes down at the end of the show and I hear everyone go ‘Yeah! Go! Go!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, woo-ho! Go!’ They were like, ‘No, GO! GO!'” He then rushed off to meet his wife and mother-in-law at St. Luke’s Hospital. Incidentally, to make the Motown connection even stronger (and more bizarre), Karen’s doctor, Dr. Maria Teaiwa-Rutherford, is Diana Ross’ gynecologist (Ross is a key character in the musical).
Several hours later their new daughter, Marlowe Rose, arrived, but Tower returned to work two days later. Nonetheless, he admits that he had no issue returning to work. He explains, “I’m like, ‘I can do these shows. It’s OK.’ Everything after that is fine. It’s kind of like Shakespeare. Once you do Shakespeare, the rest of it is a cake walk.”
However, though the couple already has a two year old son, Tower will likely still find the role of “father” not as much of a cakewalk!