EXCLUSIVE: Memphis Expected to Be Movie Musical

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27 Apr 2010

Joe DiPietro
Joe DiPietro
Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The creators of Broadway's Memphis, the high-energy musical about a white radio DJ who falls in love with a black singer in the 1950s, are in talks to develop the property as a feature film.

Lyricist and book writer Joe DiPietro told Playbill.com, "We actually have three very serious film offers right now. ...Real serious offers from big Oscar winners. It makes us all very happy."

DiPietro expects an official announcement of the film deal in the next couple of months. Memphis, set in the segregated South, is an original musical by DiPietro (book and lyrics) and lyricist-composer David Bryan (of Bon Jovi fame).

According to DiPietro, the film would follow the mold of Bob Fosse's film of Cabaret, in which all of the musical numbers are actual presentational songs that also comment on the action. "So many of those songs are performance songs," he said. "They're either sung in Delray's club, or in the recording studio, or on the radio. There's only four or five almost traditional theatre songs [in the score], but we would figure out how to make any of the songs we used sort of 'performance' songs. That would be the idea. Of course that depends on the director, but that's the way we'd approach it."

Memphis opened on Broadway Oct. 19, 2009, at the Shubert Theatre. Christopher Ashley directed the musical that will launch a national tour in Memphis, TN, in fall 2011.



The musical stars Chad Kimball (Into the Woods, Lennon, The Civil War, My Life with Albertine) and Montego Glover (The Color Purple, Ragtime, Aida) as DJ Huey Calhoun, and his muse, Felicia Farrell, respectively.

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."

Visit MemphistheMusical.