"Memphis"

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losttheatre12
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"Memphis"#1
Posted: 9/12/14 at 11:16pm
Hi all. Long time lurker, rare poster. I remember reading a lot of talk on here about "Memphis" the musical and the general consensus I saw was that not many of you were fans of it. Last night, I saw one of the first regional theatre productions of the show and I have to say I was blown away by it. Yes, there were some energy dips here and there but I never really felt like I was losing interest. My question is...what didn't you like about it specifically? I honestly went in expecting not to like it because of some opinions I read here a couple of years ago, but I couldn't remember what flaws I had seen written about it. And by the end, I left with that warm happy feeling I get when I *truly* enjoy a musical.

Anyway, not judging anyone's opinion. Just curious as to what you may not have liked about the show when it was on Broadway. I'm thinking this may be one of those times when a regional production may be better than the Broadway production, but I wouldn't rush to put that praise on it since I never saw the Broadway incarnation. Thanks!
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Jeffrey Karasarides
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"MEMPHIS"#2
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:30am
A filming of the Broadway production is available on DVD/Blu-Ray!
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Memphis#2
Posted: 9/13/14 at 12:30pm
I was probably in the minority on this board and liked the show when it was on Broadway. I thought Montego Glover's performance was worth the price of admission. If my memory was correct, I think a lot of people were divided on the performance of Chad Kimball as "Huey".
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Memphis#3
Posted: 9/13/14 at 1:33pm
Sweet Memphis, one of my very favorite shows. Memphis ran for three years successfully on Broadway and won 4 Tony Awards. Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Orchestrations and Best Score. I would say a whole lot of people loved it. The majority of people I talked to about Memphis loved Chad Kimball's interpretation of Huey. From the moment he was on stage, he worked his ass off for 2 and half hours. People loved his accent, and passion. Some people didn't like his take on it, they found him to be kind of spastic and weird. Whatever, he earned a Tony nomination. Montego Glover is perfect and people got to see an incredible performance by James Monroe Iglehart before he was the Genie in Aladdin.

"I'm thinking this may be one of those times when a regional production may be better than the Broadway production, but I wouldn't rush to put that praise on it since I never saw the Broadway incarnation."

You would definitely be wrong there. The Broadway cast of any musical is the best of the best of the best. Out of all the people in the world who auditioned, those people got the part. That is why the Tony voters see them, and the recording is always with the original cast. Broadway is the greatest theater district on the planet, and people come from all over the world to see shows here. A regional production, and the people involved, doesn't come close to a Broadway one on pretty much every level.

Buy the DVD of Memphis, which was filmed over a few days in January of 2011. Then you can see all the greatness for yourself, it really is worth it. Enjoy!!


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Updated On: 9/13/14 at 01:33 PM
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Memphis#4
Posted: 9/13/14 at 2:03pm
I thought there was suppose to be another leg of the memphis tour this spring?
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Memphis#5
Posted: 9/13/14 at 2:06pm
I believe the tour ended but it's premiering in the West End on October 23rd.
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yankeefan7
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Memphis#6
Posted: 9/13/14 at 2:24pm
Sutton Ross _ I liked Chad Kimball also but IMO Montego Glover stole the show. I agree with you that people who did not like his performance did say things like he was weird/spastic, to each their own. I guess I will have to look at my Playbill, did not know it was James Monroe Iglehart who played "Bobby". Saw him in Aladdin a few weeks ago and he was fantastic. He was very nice at stage door also when I was waiting on my daughters getting their Playbills signed.
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Memphis#7
Posted: 9/13/14 at 2:36pm
James played Bobby through the entire run, so unless it was an understudy that day, you saw him. He is such a sweetheart to his fans. Yes, Montego was break-your-heart beautiful in the part. I hope she comes back to Broadway soon.
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Memphis#8
Posted: 9/13/14 at 2:58pm
No, he actually took a leave of absence in the summer of 2011 for the Seattle try-out of 'Aladdin'.
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Memphis#9
Posted: 9/13/14 at 3:54pm
Oh, that's right, I forgot about that. I think he was gone for about a month or two?
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Memphis#10
Posted: 9/13/14 at 4:09pm
It gets sooo much hate here, way more than it probably should. Maybe it's not the most original piece ever, and it's far from perfect, but at least they took a crack at an original story and score. It opened during a particularly dry season for new musicals, with it and THE ADDAMS FAMILY being the only two original non-jukebox musicals.
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Memphis#11
Posted: 9/13/14 at 5:25pm
I loved Memphis, and especially loved the score. It deserved all the awards it received. I also loved the cast of the tour. I hope it's really successful across the pond.
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Memphis#12
Posted: 9/13/14 at 6:22pm
I saw it on tour and enjoyed it. I wouldn't have given it Best Musical that season, but I found it to be very entertaining.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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darreyl102
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Memphis#13
Posted: 9/13/14 at 7:15pm
@ Sutton Ross - "You would definitely be wrong there. The Broadway cast of any musical is the best of the best of the best. Out of all the people in the world who auditioned, those people got the part. That is why the Tony voters see them, and the recording is always with the original cast. Broadway is the greatest theater district on the planet, and people come from all over the world to see shows here. A regional production, and the people involved, doesn't come close to a Broadway one on pretty much every level. "

I respect your opinion, but that's extremely closed minded and just plain isn't true in all cases. The first Touring Production was much better then the original Broadway production in my opinion. Unless you yourself saw this regional production, how can you say that someone would be "Definitely" wrong?
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Memphis#14
Posted: 9/13/14 at 7:27pm
Well, I only saw the broadcast on TV, but i thought the leading man (was that Chad Kimball?) played his affectations rather than the character. The performance struck me as unnecessary as it was irritating.

It gets sooo much hate here, way more than it probably should.

Maybe, Mr. Nowack, but when you bore me that much, you should expect a little hate because you have stolen my time and, more importantly, you have stolen the hope i feel whenever the lights go down on a new musical. (Not referring to "you", Mr. N, but "you" the creators of MEMPHIS.)
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Memphis#15
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:02pm
The Broadway cast of any musical is the best of the best of the best.

Except when they aren't. It happens with original casts and it happens way too often with replacements.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Memphis#16
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:12pm
It is rather close minded to think that nobody else could ever surpass the performance of an original cast member. Perhaps the most perfect interpreter of a given role wasn't even born when the show had its initial production, or wasn't the right age or simply wasn't available at that time.
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Memphis#17
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:20pm
"I respect your opinion, but that's extremely closed minded and just plain isn't true in all cases. The first Touring Production was much better then the original Broadway production in my opinion. Unless you yourself saw this regional production, how can you say that someone would be "Definitely" wrong?"

You do understand that the theater district in NY is the best in the country, right? That is why tons of tourists come to NYC, to see these shows. If the finest theater was in Sheboygan, then everyone would go there. The very best theater actors work in New York. I would say the majority of theater actors want to work in New York. They aren't in some regional theater in the middle of nowhere for a reason. Memphis was extraordinarily special, the leads were the same since 2002, and everyone except one principal cast member stayed with the Broadway production all three years. The very best of the best.

Broadway trumps regional productions, how strange you wouldn't realize that with the prices, the talent, and the money involved.
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Updated On: 9/13/14 at 08:20 PM
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Memphis#18
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:31pm
I agree that (for musicals in particular), Broadway is the absolute best theatre district in the world. I don't have an opinion about this particular issue, but I don't you think can claim that Broadway casts or productions always trump regional productions though. There are always exceptions to the rule.

I often post here on my phone, so please excuse issues with grammar, paragraphing and spelling :).
Updated On: 9/13/14 at 08:31 PM
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Memphis#19
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:31pm
^^^^^^ (to SuttonRoss)
Price is never an ultimate meter on what is better, nor is tourist interest. And Broadway is not necessarily the be-all end-all of the theater world. It may be the most famous and coveted place and the veritable center of the theater world, but that doesn't mean good theater doesn't happen in other places, or that there aren't actors and singers and dancers just as good as those on Broadway in Chicago, or Sheboygan or wherever. Perhaps they just have yet to get their big breaks, or are content with their lives away from the pressure to pander to tourists that some would say impairs the quality of New York theater?

(This very argument was the subject of a thread a while back by the way)

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Memphis#20
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:50pm
You both make good points, I grew up enjoying the Auditorium Theatre and Geva in Rochester. I loved everything I saw there, but the touring casts just didn't compare to the talent I have seen in New York City. I guess I will amend my statement and say Broadway is usually better than regional productions, but there are exceptions.

I will always think of Broadway as the best theater district in the world, though.
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Memphis#21
Posted: 9/13/14 at 8:51pm
It was the best show that season, and had some effective moments, but to me it seemed a little too cliche.
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Memphis#22
Posted: 9/13/14 at 9:02pm
For those who care, the specific production I saw was at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre (www.therep.org) and they pretty much produce outstanding work all the time. I've been going to shows there for a little over 10 years now and I am constantly surprised how professional and top-notch the quality of the shows are for it being in Little Rock, Arkansas of all places. But then again, these are actors from New York doing this so I guess that says a lot.

With that being said, in regards to regional productions v. Broadway productions, I can say that I saw both the Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast" and The Rep's version of it and The Rep was by FAR better. So in some cases, I would say that there are probably regional productions out there that outshine their Broadway predecessors in terms of creativity.

The actor playing Huey in the production I saw clearly had never set foot in the south in his life so his accent was a little hard to take seriously, BUT compared to the clips I've seen of Chad Kimball playing the role, the actor in the production I saw was very charming and I genuinely cared about what happened to him...even though the story does a poor job of wrapping up the ending, IMO. Every clip I've seen of Chad made the role seem strange to me. So when the actor I saw was great, I was relieved that I was able to care about the character as much as I did.

Anyway, to sum it all up...I loved the show. And thanks for the info about the DVD of the Broadway version- I had no clue about that.
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Memphis#23
Posted: 9/13/14 at 9:08pm
"I would say that there are probably regional productions out there that outshine their Broadway predecessors in terms of creativity."

Occasionally, I guess that's true.

I looked at the cast list for your production, and neither one of the two leads has any NYC or Broadway acting experience.

Interesting list by Playbill.


http://www.playbill.com/news/article/time-magazine-picks-top-regional-theatres



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Updated On: 9/14/14 at 09:08 PM
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Memphis#24
Posted: 9/13/14 at 9:37pm
It's not an uncommon thing. Broadway is not the end all of Theatre.
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