Memphis Wins Three Early Tonys

News   Memphis Wins Three Early Tonys
The new musical Memphis won the first three competitive Tony Awards of the evening: Daryl Waters and David Bryan for Best Orchestrations, Joe DiPietro and David Bryan for Best Score and Joe DiPietro for Book of a Musical.

Accepting the Tony for Best Original Score of a Musical, the writers told how they asked producers for $12 million for Memphis, an original show with no old songs and no famous stars.

DiPietro, upon winning Best Book, said, "I'm having a total Sally Field moment here!"

Bryan made his debut as a theatre composer less than a year ago, composing the score to the Off-Broadway spoof musical The Toxic Avenger. Like Bryan, he rang the Broadway bell on his first try with his score to Memphis, which tips its hat to several early-rock styles, but mainly just reflects Bryan's own musical vocabulary.

The Juilliard-trained rocker hails from Edison, NJ, and was a pre-med student at Rutgers when he was invited to join the rock group Bon Jovi as keyboardist. He played and sang on nearly all the ensuing Bon Jovi albums, and composed several songs for the group, including "In These Arms." A fan of musicals since childhood, he began collaborating with fellow Garden Stater, librettist Joe DiPietro, with whom he wrote both Toxic Avenger and Memphis.

DiPietro has been climbing up the slippery pole of Broadway for more than a decade. He's worked on nearly a dozen stage projects, including the blockbuster I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, the Off-Broadway revue about the dating scene in New York, which amassed 5,003 performances before closing in summer 2009. He also had a hit with the non-musical play Over the River and Through the Woods, about a young Italian-American man's relationship with his four grandparents. He also combined Shakespeare with Elvis Presley for the musical All Shook Up, which ran only six months, but launched the career of Cheyenne Jackson. A return to Tennessee subject matter in Memphis proved a charm for the writer.

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