'Memphis' opens Musical Theatre West's new season

LONG BEACH – Musical Theatre West opens its 2016-17 season with Broadway’s smash hit musical “Memphis” at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center Oct. 21 – Nov. 6.  

The winner of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book and Best Orchestrations, “Memphis” is filled with “roof-raising rock and roll, high-octane dancing, and an extraordinary tale of fame and forbidden love that sparked a cultural revolution.”

The show’s Tony-winning original score  features music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”), who also pens the musical’s book. 

Tickets start at $20 and are on sale at musical.org or by calling (562) 856-1999, ext. 4. 

Inspired by actual events, “Memphis” is a story of a cultural revolution that erupted in the 1950s, in the segregated underground nightclubs, radio stations, and recording studios of Memphis. When Huey Calhoun, a rebellious DJ with a passion for R&B, discovers Felicia Farrell, an up-and-coming black singer in a club on Beale Street, they pursue a romantic and professional relationship, defying their place in society and in music. 

As their careers rise, they are challenged by personal ambition and the pressures of a segregated world. Will their love be able to withstand the trials of separation, greed and fame?

When “Memphis” opened on Broadway in 2009, audiences and critics went wild for the musical. The New York Times hailed, “[Composer] David Bryan evokes the powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of the Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period.” 

Awards followed the critical acclaim. “Memphis” earned a total of nine Tony nominations, winning four of the top categories and seven Drama Desk Award nominations. 

When the production moved to London, the show garnered an additional nine Laurence Olivier Award nominations and the awards for Best New Musical, Best Theatre Choreographer, and Best Sound Design.

EntertainmentStaff Report