Let's Rock 'n Roll: New Musical Memphis World Premieres at NSMT Sept. 23

News   Let's Rock 'n Roll: New Musical Memphis World Premieres at NSMT Sept. 23
Memphis, the new rock musical from Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and David Bryan (music and additional lyrics), begins its world-premiere run Sept. 23 at the North Shore Music Theatre.
Montego Glover  (L) and Chad Kimball of Memphis.
Montego Glover (L) and Chad Kimball of Memphis.

Chad Kimball, who memorably portrayed the cow Milky White in the Tony winning revival of Into the Woods, heads the cast of the production, which will play the Massachusetts theatre through Oct. 12 with an official opening scheduled for Sept. 25.

Directed by Gabriel Barre, the company of Memphis also includes Randy Aaron, Edward Barker, Derrick Baskin, Anika Bobb, J. Bernard Calloway, Catherine Carpenter, Kevin Covert, Kevin Duda, Montego Glover, Frank Lawson, Neal Mayer, Susan Mansur, David Piel, Wayne Pretlow, Jenelle Lynn Randall, Sarah Stiles, Stephan Stubbins, Nell Teare and Cynthia Thomas.

Memphis concerns the story of a white deejay who plays African-American music to his white listeners in the 1940’s, “unknowingly giving birth to the music known as rock-n-roll.” About the production, North Shore Artistic Director and Executive Producer Jon Kimbell said, "Memphis is a rock 'n roll piece designed to reflect both modern and historical musical styles. We are extremely proud to be the first theatre in the world to produce [the musical]."

DiPietro — of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change fame — explained, "In working with David Bryan, a bona fide rock star, we were able to be true to both the roots of rock 'n roll and to what audiences want to hear today. This is a story about the era when black music was introduced to white, teenage audiences. It was a turbulent time, an exciting time, and that musical revolution did, indeed, change the world." And, co-author Bryan added, "It will be an entertaining eye opener for many people. And, as the composer, my goal is for the audience to walk out the door snapping their fingers and singing the tunes. That's what a good musical is all about."

The creative team for Memphis comprises George W. George (original story concept), Todd L. Underwood (choreography), Galen Butler (music direction), Daryl Waters (orchestrations), Christopher Jahnke (music supervisor and additional arrangements), Bill Stabile (scenic design), Phil Monat (lighting design), John A. Stone (sound design), Pamela Scofield (costume design) and Gerard Kelly (wig design). The North Shore Music Theatre is located on Dunham Road in Beverly, MA. Tickets — priced $26-$64 — are available by calling (978) 232-7200 or by going to the theatre's website, www.nsmt.org.

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