Opel (Urinetown, Fiddler on the Roof, Drowsy Chaperone) will succeed Morgan (Pump Boys and Dinettes) as Mama, the tough southern mother to DJ Huey Calhoun (played by Tony nominee Chad Kimball). Producers also announced that current Memphis cast member John Jellison will assume the role of Mr. Simmons, originated by McGrath. Opel and Jellison will begin performances in their respective roles March 15.
Bon Jovi songwriter and band member David Bryan and Joe DiPietro penned the score to Memphis, which is flavored with gospel, R&B, rock and soul sounds.The rock musical about an interracial love affair in the 1950s segregated South stars Tony Award nominees Kimball and Montego Glover.
Memphis earned Tony Awards for Best Book, Best Score and Best Musical.
Songs in the production are "Underground," "The Music of My Soul," "Ain't Nothin' But a Kiss," "Everybody Wants to Be Black on a Saturday Night," "Make Me Stronger," "Colored Women," "Someday," "She's My Sister," "Radio," "Say a Prayer," "Big Love," "Love Will Stand When All Else Falls," "Stand Up," "Change Don't Come Easy," "Memphis Lives in Me" and "Steal Your Rock 'n' Roll."
Memphis is produced on Broadway by Junkyard Dog Productions, Barbara and Buddy Freitag and Kenny and Marleen Alhadeff with Latitude Link, Jim and Susan Blair, Land Line Productions, Demos Bizar Entertainment, Apples and Oranges Productions, Dave Copley, Dancap Productions, Inc., Tony Ponturo, 2 Guys Productions, and Richard Winkler in association with Linda and Bill Potter, Broadway Across America, Jocko Productions, Lauren Doll/Bob Bartner, Patty Baker, Dan Frishwasser, Loraine Boyle/Chase Mishkin, Remmel T. Dickinson/Memphis Orpheum Group and ShadowCatcher Entertainment/Vijay and Sita Vashee. Memphis opened on Broadway Oct. 19, 2009, at the Shubert Theatre under the direction of Christopher Ashley. Broadway previews began Sept. 23, 2009.