(CBS Local)– Derrick Baskin’s journey to the Broadway stage is one of the craziest you’ll ever hear.
The 43-year-old grew up on a military base in Japan, came to New York without a place to stay and passed up on life as a doctor for a career in the arts. All of these things and 20 years of grinding in the business have presented Baskin the opportunity to play Otis Williams in the upcoming Broadway show about The Temptations called “Ain’t Too Proud-The Life & Times Of The Temptations.”
“The funny thing was I honestly didn’t want the part,” said Baskin in an interview with CBS Local. “I was trying to get out of musical theater. I was starting to book TV shows and movies. My agent told me this part would be the lead and I’ve never done that. They sent me the audition material and it was nine pages of monologues. I go into this room and sang Stand By Me. This musical for my character is a memory play. Essentially, I’m doing two shows, one to the audience and then I go back to the 1950s and we go through it to the present day.
One of the best parts of the experience so far has been the relationship Baskin has developed with the legendary musician Williams. In fact, the lead of “Ain’t Too Proud” just got a call from Williams the other day while he was walking out of the gym.
“When someone tells you that you’re playing the last living member of this iconic group, the first thing that comes up is fear,” said Baskin. “When you meet him, you fall in love with the man. I started to see how I related to him as a man and an artist and that took the fear away. He is so unassuming. He is the most humble individual and most appreciative of what we are doing for him and The Temptations. He called me yesterday and has this wealth of knowledge that he is completely open to sharing.”
Previews for “Ain’t Too Proud” start on Feb. 28 and the show officially opens Mar. 21 at the Imperial Theatre. Baskin says people should be excited for the show.
“You’re going to see the parallels of the 1950s and 1960s to today and you’re going to come away thinking where the older generation was when they first heard this music. It’s not an easy show. I don’t leave the stage, I’m in every scene of the show. It makes the work worth it when someone says thank you for telling this story. It’s a great education tool for the younger audiences for a time they know nothing about.”