“I was lost until I found the music of my soul,” sings Huey Calhoun when he enters an all-black nightclub in Memphis. Huey is soon enamored with the soulful songstress Felicia Farrell, but the only problem is: it’s the South in the 1950s, and he’s white.
Memphis tells the story of the first white DJ to play “race” music on the radio, which changes the music scene forever. Though Huey doesn’t have the support of the entire community, or even his family, his love for music and for singer Felicia begin to break down the walls of racial prejudice in the community and, eventually, the nation.
Memphis (presented by California Musical Theatre as a part of their Broadway Sacramento series) is a high energy and touching musical about race relations, love, and the transcendent power of music. You will walk away with a full heart and a sore throat from laughing and cheering for an immensely talented cast.
Memphis has the lightheartedness of Hairspray, the gravitas of Dreamgirls, and is sure to have you humming to the musical’s final tune long after the actors take their final bows. Watch for stand-out performances from Bryan Fenkart (Huey), Felicia Boswell (Felicia), and Julie Johnson (Mama/Gladys). The entire show is beautifully choreographed, acted, and performed to music and lyrics that are as outstanding as the lead performances. [Reviewer’s note: bring tissues because the final number of the first act might make you cry a little.]
Though this is Memphis‘ first visit to Sacramento, the musical was on Broadway from October 2009 until August 2012, garnering the Tony Award for Best Musical (and several other awards) during its run. If the standing ovation at last night’s performance was any indication, Memphis is a night at the theatre you won’t want to miss!
Coming up on the 2012-2012 Broadway Sacramento series is Peter Pan (Dec 26-Dec 30), Rock of Ages (Jan 22-Jan 27), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (March 6-March 17), Billy Elliot the Musical (April 9-April 14), and Les Miserables (May 29-June 9).
Allison Baker is a guest writer for Sacramento365.com.