Tony nominee Christopher Ashley ( Xanadu, Leap of Faith) directed the musical that has a Tony Award-winning book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro ( Nice Work If You Can Get It; I Love You, You're Perfect...) and Tony-winning music and lyrics by David Bryan of Bon Jovi fame. The two also collaborated on the musical The Toxic Avenger and are currently working with the Memphis creative team on a new Broadway-aimed musical Chasing the Song.
Memphis began previews Sept. 23, 2009, and officially opened on Broadway Oct. 19, 2009. It played 30 previews and 1,166 performances on Broadway. A London production is anticipated, but official dates have not been announced.
In late July Memphis producers announced that the musical would recoup its $12 million anvestment by its Aug. 5 closing.
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).
The musical launched a national tour in its namesake city last October with dates scheduled around the country through May 2013. An HD film was taped in front of a live audience at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway in early 2011. It was screened in cinemas globally and is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Memphis arrived on Broadway following developmental runs at the La Jolla Playhouse (August 2008) and Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre (February 2009). Chad Kimball and Montego Glover, who originated the leading roles of Huey Calhoun and Felicia Ferrall in those productions, earned Tony Award nominations for their work on Broadway.
"The level of love and commitment exhibited by all the members of our company from La Jolla to Seattle to Broadway has been matched only by the enthusiasm of our magnificently ardent fans," producer Sue Frost said in a recent statement. "For us, this kind of reciprocity represents the heart of live theatre. On behalf of the entire producing team, management team, creative team, the cast, crew, staff of the Shubert Theatre, and all who have helped Memphis to make its mark on Broadway, we say thank you."
|photo by Joan Marcus|
The current cast of Memphis also includes Derrick Baskin (Gator), J. Bernard Calloway (Delray), James Monroe Iglehart (Bobby), John Jellison (Mr. Simmons), Tony nominee Nancy Opel (Mama), as well as Darius Barnes, Carmen Shavone Borders, Angela C. Brydon, Sam J. Cahn , Erica Dorfler, Preston W. Dugger III, Sasha Hutchings, Lauren Lim Jackson, Tyrone Jackson, Elizabeth Ward Land, Bryan Langlitz, Kevin Massey , Candice Monet McCall, David McDonald, Monette McKay, Andy Mills, Justin Patterson, Jermaine R. Rembert, Ken Robinson, Jamison Scott, Antoine L. Smith, Betsy Struxness, Cody Williams and Dan'yelle Williamson.
Based on a concept by George W. George, Memphis features choreography by Sergio Trujillo ( Leap of Faith, Next to Normal, Jersey Boys), scenic design by David Gallo, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley and sound design by Ken Travis. Musical supervision is by Christopher Jahnke.
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 producers bill 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."
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, Demos Bizar Entertainment, Land Line Productions, Apples and Oranges Productions, Dave Copley, Dancap Productions, Inc., Alex and Katya Lukianov, Tony Ponturo, 2 Guys Productions, and Richard Winkler in association with Lauren Doll, Eric and Marsi Gardiner, Linda and Bill Potter, Broadway Across America, Jocko Productions, Patty Baker, Dan Frishwasser, Bob Bartner/Scott and Kaylin Union, Loraine Boyle/Chase Mishkin, Remmel T. Dickinson/Memphis Orpheum Group and ShadowCatcher Entertainment/Vijay and Sita Vashee. Visit MemphistheMusical.