Don’t Let Anybody Steal Your Rock & Roll

by Kelly, Manager of Group Sales & Services

Winner of 4 Tony Awards (Best Score, Book, Orchestrations and Best Musical) in 2010, “Memphis” has been rocking the stage at the Shubert Theatre since 2009.  After seeing a performance this week, I am happy to say that things are alive and well on Beale Street.

Set in the segregated and turbulent south in the 1950s, “Memphis” tells the story of Huey Calhoun, a quirky white radio DJ who is determined to share his love of “race music” with everyone in Memphis – white and black alike.  Walking along Beale Street one night, Huey becomes entranced by the voice of a beautiful black singer named Felicia who is singing in her brother’s nightclub.  As Huey’s popularity as a radio DJ increases, he uses his success to jumpstart her career.  As she continues on her path to stardom, a controversial romantic relationship occurs between the two, much to the dismay of Huey’s traditional mother, Felicia’s concerned brother, as well as the citizens of Memphis itself.  Can their love survive the trials and tribulations of a society that is unwilling to accept them while keeping their own personal ambitions from getting in the way?

“Memphis” comes packed with an uplifting score that will have even the most cynical theatre watchers tapping their toes along to the beat.  David Bryan, who you might also know as a founding member and keyboard payer of the band Bon Jovi, is the show’s composer, and also shares credit as lyricist with Joe DiPietro (who is also responsible for the show’s book.)  A few of my personal favorite songs include the soulful “Memphis Lives in Me,” the sweet and simple “Someday,” and of course, the spirited “Steal Your Rock and Roll,” which closes the show.  The show also features show-stopping dancing and is appropriate for all ages (given that the themes and plot developments described above are deemed appropriate for your group.)  There is some minimal cursing and a slight scene of violence, but the overall show is family friendly

A new voice is singing the tuneful musical’s rockin’ songs these days, as Broadway veteran Adam Pascal (who played Roger in the original Broadway cast of “Rent” and Radames in the original Broadway cast of “Aida”) has stepped onto Beale Street, replacing original cast member Chad Kimball, who created the role.  I was lucky to see the show previously with Kimball in the role, and was admittedly a little hesitant about the replacement casting, as I loved Kimball’s voice and his passionate portrayal of Huey Calhoun.  I am happy to say that my apprehension was premature, as I enjoyed Adam Pascal’s performance.  I thought his voice sounded great in the role, and though I felt he could loosen up and commit to the quirkiness of Huey a bit more, he did the show justice.  Another great surprise was seeing the understudy for the Tony-nominated original cast member Montego Glover who plays songstress Felicia.  Making her Broadway debut in this show, Dan’yelle Williamson stepped out of the ensemble and into the spotlight as leading lady Felicia with poise and presence and a voice that could stop you in your tracks.  Another performance that should be noted is James Monroe Inglehart as Bobby, whose performance of the song “Big Love” brought down the house.

If you’d like to experience the magic and let “Memphis” live in YOU, please give the New York Guest office a call at 212-302-4019.  You can also purchase tickets on our website at www.newyorkguest.com, or email me personally at kshoemaker@newyorkguest.com.  Though nothing beats seeing this hit show in person, if you can’t make it to New York, you can view a performance of “Memphis” filmed live with the original cast on Netflix.

 

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