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Memphis: The Broadway Musical 2011
Description: Memphis is set in the territories where rock and roll was born in the 1950s: the seedy nightclubs, radio stations and recording studios of the musically-rich Tennessee city. With an original score, it says the fictional storyline of DJ Huey Calhoun, a nice ole' local man with a passion for R&B melody and Felicia Farrell, an up-and-coming black singer that he meets one fateful night on Beale Street. Despite the objections of their loved ones (Huey's close-minded mama and Felicia's cautious brother, a club owner), they embark on a risky affair. As their careers rise, the relationship is challenged by private ambition and the pressures of an outside globe unable to agree their love.
Released: 28 Apr 2011 Director: Don Roy King Writers: Joe DiPietro (musical book) Actors: Todrick Hall, James Monroe Iglehart, Paul McGill, Montego Glover Genres: Musical
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Memphis: The Broadway Musical Reviews:

For those who go retching to the bathroom at the very mention of the "M" word, it prol'ly goes without telling I don't how you got this far.I'd stopped paying attention to any fresh items coming from Broadway long ago, the rut they were in being so bad. But I didn't realize how out of touch I'd become until they apparently payed for a one time of it showing in 4 Phoenix zone theaters recently--the notice of which I saw in only one site ad. Turns out it's a high quality HD recording of the Broadway scene production released in 2011, intermission and all. It was like being there in seats right up on the stage.The storyline is centered on a white DJ-to-be in the early '50s who gets black blues cum rock and roll on local Memphis radio. Overall not that original but like all plots, the prize is in the features you hang on the framework, which sparkle here. The DJ's accent is probably somewhat off-putting to those of us from the South, but I realized it's an adaptation of Southern Baptist pulpit, used I think to set off the individuality of the hero (who is decidedly non-religious) from another whites around him with their regular southr'en fried accents. It's not so much an interracial love storyline as it is an interracial love of melody story.The Present was a Broadway hit in 2010, winning 5 Tonys including greatest musical and greatest original score, and with nominations for the two leads. Who knew. For me it was the greatest Broadway style musical to come out in 20 years.


I registered just so I should review this musical. The melody is unbelievable and I love the story which I won't go into as I don't wish to crash the plot for anyone else.However, the male lead's, Chad Kimball, southern accent is fully wrong and even offensive to anyone living in the South. Inflections were on the wrong words and the pronunciation was even worse. I understand he was testing a comic role but the accent was so wrong that it took away from the role. I am still giving this an 8 because I liked the concept of the musical, the rest of the cast, and the storyline.


When you first see Chad Kimball in this, you start to wonder if his hero is a bit off the beam. He spontaneously giggles like some popular movie psychos, and for the only white boy outside a police officer to visit Beale Road in Memphis, he's seemingly out of his element. But once he starts to enjoy the piano and spin around as he sings, it's clear that his soul is closer to Chuck Berry than Perry Como. The moment he sees sultry Montagu Glover, he's in love. But racial tensions on both sides receive out of control, especially as the white children start to love what the square older white people refer condescendingly as "race music".What could have been a star making role for the superb Ms. Glover is one of Broadway's mysteries as she hasn't had a lead role since. She hides her vulnerability between the typical sassiness, but something about Kimball's freaky nature appeals to her as he devotes his time to getting her a radio and record deal. Kimball is funny, but certainly mannerisms of his become a bit creepy after a while. Where this succeeds outside of Glover's winning performance is in the melody and the historical context, paralleling some of the happenings in the smash hit "Dreamgirls" and the entertaining but pointless "Motown" which worked better through the ebook of the disguised fictional version. "Memphis", though, covers an earlier time, a various location, and deals with integration problems that the another shows cute much ignored.If you feel uncomfortable with certain frictions between the whites and blacks, then the present is succeeding in what it set out to do. There's more than a hit of violence as Glover deals with falling in love with a white boy with a horrific turn of events. The fallout from that creates seemingly unfixable conflicts, aided by the racism of Kimball's mother (Cass Morgan), presented as a nice Christian girl using the gospel to hide behind her hate. The upbeat score is thrilling, although there's no true standout. For me, this shows the ridiculousness of racial tensions, because when it comes down to it, all every of us wants is a bit of happiness, a possibility at love, and of course a nice beat so we can reach deeply inside to search our own rock n' roll.



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