From Gibbs to Broadway

ST. PETERSBURG — Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes, pastor of Bethel Community Baptist Church, located at 2901 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg, is proud to announce that his two children, Ephraim and Martina Sykes, are both original cast members of “Motown the Musical.”

The musical is based on the story of Barry Gordy’s founding and running of the Motown record label, and his personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson.

Ephraim was in the initial workshop and opening on Broadway. He is a featured dancer and also unstudied for Rick James and Jackie Wilson. Martina was the first cast member for the national tour currently in Chicago. She stars as Mary Wells and Gordy’s sister.

Both of the Sykes children are alums of Gibbs High School’s Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) program and both were hand chosen by Gordy himself, which is a testament to the PCCA program and reason why African-American children must stay involved in the arts.

Ephraim will soon leave the musical and begin taping a pilot series directed by one of Hollywood’s top directors and producers, and the Tampa Bay area will be able to catch Martina on stage in February of 2015.

Let’s congratulate them both. They make their parents, and of course, St. Petersburg proud!

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