Special Report: MEMPHIS 2nd Year Anniversary - Still Wows!
"HOCKADOO!" Last night, October 19th, the 2010 Tony Award-winning Best Musical MEMPHIS, celebrated its Second Anniversary on Broadway, in style, and it was a night to remember!
We started the evening off, appropriately enough, at the recently-opened (and Justin Timberlake owned) Southern Hospitality restaurant. It came as a suggestion from one of BroadwayWorld's secret weapons, our 'concierge' who definitely knows the way around town - 'restaurantally' speaking. The midtown theatre district is littered with barbecue joints, but this one is a welcome addition, in Hell's Kitchen, at the corner of 9th Avenue and 45th street.
One of the key decisions when making theatre plans, is to dine in close proximity to where your show is. Since MEMPHIS, at the Shubert Theater, was only a couple of blocks away, our 'concierge' scored an A+ last night.
Now, about the food - 'OMG!' doesn't even begin to cover it. Every single entree and side were ridiculously good and I imagine that part of that has to do with the authenticity of Timberlake's Memphis roots. (The frozen lime margaritas weren't bad either) and the portions are huge, so the value is good if you're travelling in a pack.
As a sidebar, Justin Timberlake, who is rapidly becoming a mogul in all media and can seem to do no wrong, saw the hit musical back in 2010 with another BroadwayWorld favorite, girlfriend Jessica Biel, spurring rumors of possibly being interested in starring in a film version of the musical. Another name being bandied about as attached to the project, has been film legend Oliver Stone at the helm.
So, with stomachs happily full, we headed over to the Shubert Theater on a rainy night. The mood in the lobby and the audience was fantastically upbeat for this beloved show. I'm happy to report that MEMPHIS, which I originally saw in previews, is in great shape, with performances, choreography, scenic elements, lighting and costumes in as sharp of shape as any show on Broadway could ever hope to be. Also, it's always nice to be in a theatre when a standing ovation happens spontaneously.
From the theater we headed over to a Second Anniversary celebration for cast, family, friends and everyone associated with the production, which was held a few blocks away, at another great space that you may or may not know about called Glass House Tavern. The party was multi-tiered, very classy, with plenty of food and drink and 'celebration' in the air. It was a party full of smiles and pride at an achievement that seems to have no end in sight. The other thing that I must say, that I observed, is that this entire cast genuinely seems to love and adore each other and get along really well both onstage and off. So, I'm going to coin a phrase here, and say that's 'very MEMPHIS'.
Interestingly enough, the U.S. National Touring Production of MEMPHIS opened just days before at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, TN. (Click here to check out BWW TV coverage of the cast visiting Elvis Presley's legendary home, Graceland). For more information on the Broadway and Tour productions, visit www.MemphisTheMusical.com.
And, what's up next up for the Broadway show? Adam Pascal (RENT, AIDA, CABARET) officially starts performances on Tuesday night, October 25th taking over the role of Huey Calhoun, originated by Chad Kimball. Kimball will be missed by fans of the show, but Pascal is a really smart and perfect fit in the casting department. And, of course, BroadwayWorld will be there to report on Pascal and the show.
MEMPHIS takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50's, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun fell in love with everything he shouldn't: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. MEMPHIS is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.
Critically acclaimed MEMPHIS won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan andDaryl Waters). MEMPHIS won four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Montego Glover), Outstanding Music (David Bryan) and Outstanding Orchestration (David Bryan and Daryl Waters). MEMPHIS has also won four Outer Critic Circle Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Score (David Bryan & Joe DiPietro), Outstanding Actress (Montego Glover) and Outstanding Choreography (Sergio Trujillo).
MEMPHIS features a Tony-winning score with music by Bon Jovi's founding member/keyboardistDavid Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Tony-winner Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical's book. MEMPHIS 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).
Tickets range from $41.50 to $131.50 (including a $1.50 facility fee). The performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday - Saturday evenings at 8pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2pm, and Sundays at 3pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.Telecharge.comor call 212.239.6200.
For more information visit www.MemphisTheMusical.com