Hey Mama! Tony Nominee Nancy Opel Joins Memphis On Broadway March 15
By Adam Hetrick
Tony Award nominee Nancy Opel is the new tough-skinned Mama of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Memphis, beginning March 15 at the Shubert Theatre.
Opel (Urinetown, Fiddler on the Roof, Drowsy Chaperone) succeeds original cast member Cass Morgan (Pump Boys and Dinettes) as the mother to the character of DJ Huey Calhoun (played by Tony nominee Chad Kimball). Memphis ensemble member John Jellison also assumes the role of Mr. Simmons, originated by Michael McGrath. Both Morgan and McGrath departed the hit musical 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.
The cast also features Derrick Baskin, J. Bernard Calloway, James Monroe Iglehart, Ashley Blanchet, Felicia Boswell, Preston W. Dugger III, Hillary Elk, Bryan Fenkart, Dionne Figgins, Bahiyah Sayyed Gaines, Rhett George, Robert Hartwell, Elizabeth Ward Land, Bryan Langlitz, Kyle Leland, Kevin Massey, Candice Money McCall, David McDonald, Paul McGill, Monette McKay, Andy Mills, Sydney Morton, Justin Patterson, Jermaine R. Rembert, Jamison Scott, Betsy Struxness, Ephraim M. Sykes, Daniel J. Watts and Dan’yelle Williamson.
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.
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