My schedule has been hectic. I had 5 shows in 8 days and that put me behind. I'm back in school and that takes all my time. For homework in Jazz choir we are required to listen to Jazz or Contemporary Acapella Vocals. (I'm not complaining.) And so when I got a chance to watch "Memphis" on PBS I was doing my homework. And working on Protest Tuesday at the same time. (It's the only way I get anything done anymore.)
"Memphis" is a Broadway musical. It won the Tony award in 2010. So it is very successful. It is also a very entertaining show. A joy to watch.
"Memphis" is set in the fifties. The story is about a DJ, Huey Calhoun, who brings black music to a white radio audience. The underlying theme is race relations including forbidden love in a very racist Memphis, Tennessee. Both lead roles in this romantic comedy are riveting.
The PBS special was shot on Broadway, a single performance in front of a live audience. They used a two camera technique where the cameras are positioned to either side of the stage. Since, in theater, the actors play to the front of the stage this is a very challenging production technique. Still, it was unnoticeable during the show. Behind the scenes they discussed the challenge this presented because of the dynamic blocking with the actors constantly in motion on stage. After you watch the show be sure you watch Behind The Scenes.
Right now follow me below the fold for more about this great show.
Memphis takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun (Chad Kimball) falls in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer Felicia Farrell (Montego Glover). Memphis is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.There's some great music, some of it clearly referring back to fifties and sixties hits. Chad Kimball delivers a uniquely quirky character in Huey Calhoun. Montego Glover sings so well it's easy to imagine Felicia Farrell becoming a big star.
And there are also some very powerful scenes speaking directly to the racism in our near past and our present. I will not describe them because I want you to watch this show and I won't spoil it.
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. The show is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner With Andre), with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, (Jersey Boys, Next to Normal).Go to the link to view a preview.
Here's the trailer.
And here's some more.
The character Huey Calhoun is loosely based on Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips. Check this out on MyFoxMemphis.