Film Adaptation of Tony-Winning Musical Memphis In the Works

By Andrew Gans
and Adam Hetrick
15 Oct 2012

Memphis, which won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical, is heading to the silver screen.



According to the New York Times, Mark Gordon and Molly Smith will produce the movie — based on the four-time Tony Award-winning musical about a soulful, white radio DJ and his love for a black singer at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement — with Alcon Entertainment; the latter is a Warner Bros.-based production company.

Tony winner Joe DiPietro, who wrote the musical's book and co-wrote its lyrics with composer David Bryan, will pen the screenplay for the movie musical.

Casting, director and timetable have yet to be announced.

Memphis began previews on Broadway Sept. 23, 2009, and officially opened Oct. 19, 2009. It played 30 previews and 1,166 performances. Christopher Ashley directed.

Memphis won four 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (DiPietro) and Best Orchestrations (Bryan and Daryl Waters).

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."

Here's how the Broadway producers billed the musical: "Memphis takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun fell in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. Memphis is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever."