The musical, subtitled The Birth of Rock 'N Roll and based on a concept by George W. George, features book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro with music and additional lyrics by David Bryan. Christopher Ashley directs the 6 PM reading.
Playbill.com has learned that those scheduled to be part of the by-invitation-only reading include Derrick Baskin, Candy Buckley, J. Bernard Calloway, Kevin Covert, Andrea Dora, Montego Glover, Chad Kimball, Anika Larsen, Neal Mayer, Betsy Morgan, Rashad Naylor, Marcus Neville, John Eric Parker and Terita Redd.
Memphis, according to production notes, "tells the rock 'n roll tale of Huey Calhoun — the first disc jockey to play rhythm & blues music for white teenagers in the early '50's. Inspired by true events, [the musical] looks at a turbulent time when a new form of music was about to change the world forever."
Productions of Memphis have played California's TheatreWorks and the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA.
Prior to the North Shore run, co-creator DiPietro — of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change fame — explained in a statement, "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." New World Stages is located in Manhattan at 340 West 50th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.