Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Memphis opened recently at the Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas. Filled with the rock & roll rhythm, dancing and love, Memphis tells the story of Huey P. Calhoun, a quirky, white store clerk, who loves R&B music. That would not be a problem in 2012, but in the 1950’s in Memphis, Tennessee, it is a big problem.
One night Huey, played by Bryan Fenkart wanders into DelRey’s, a Beale Street nightclub and hears the sultry voice of a black, singer Felicia Ferrell. He not only falls in love with her voice, but he also falls in love with her. He vows to get her songs heard in the center of the radio dial.
Fast talking his way into a job as a DJ on a local, white radio station, Huey starts playing R&B, known then as ‘race music’. It started a cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.
Listen To the Beat…and Never Let Anyone Steal Your Rock’n Roll!
Memphis handles the sensitive topics of racial prejudice, interracial romance with subtly, due to the fine performances of Bryan Fenkart (Huey) and Felicia Boswell (Felicia).
On stage for all but 10 minutes of the show, Fenkart is energetic and charismatic as Huey. He performs the songs “Music of my Soul” , “Radio” and “Memphis Lives in Me” with passion and heart.
I was mesmerized by Felicia Boswell in her role as Felicia Ferrell. With the same name as her character, perhaps she was born to play this role. Her performance of “Make Me Stronger” and “Colored Woman” were emotional and powerful; while “Someday” and “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Kiss” were sexy and playful. When she sang “Colored Woman” and ” Love Will Stand When All Else Falls” , she gave me goosebumps. She is unbelievable!
Quentin Earl Darrington (DelRey) and Julie Johnson (Mama) also give wonderful performances. In fact, the entire cast is amazing!
With a book by Tony-winning by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) and a Tony-winning original score with music by Bon Jovi’s, David Bryan, Memphis is directed by Christopher Ashley and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys).
From the first song, “Underground” to the last ” Steal Your Rock ‘n Roll” , you will tap your toes to the beat of Memphis.