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Home Arts & Entertainment Originally published May 16, 2012

Rock and Roll Musical ‘Memphis’ to Debut at the Kennedy Center

by AFRO Staff

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On June 12, the Kennedy Center will debut “Memphis” in the Opera House. The award-winning production will play until July 1.

Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters), the production features music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan, and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro, who also pens the musical’s book. Bryan and DiPietro also collaborated on the award-winning Off-Broadway hit, The Toxic Avenger.

“Memphis” is based on a concept by the late George W. George, with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, whose work is currently represented by shows on Broadway including Memphis and Jersey Boys.

“Memphis” takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 1950s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun fell in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock n’ 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.

The national tour of the production stars Bryan Fenkart (Huey) and Felicia Boswell (Felicia) with Quentin Earl Darrington (Delray), Rhett George (Gator), Julie Johnson (Mama), Will Mann (Bobby), and William Parry (Mr. Simmons).

The company includes Alexander Aguilar, Chelsey Arce, Whitney Leigh Brown, Whitney Cooper, Tami Dahbura, Scott Difford, Christopher Gurr, Daisy Hobbs, Adrienne Howard, Crystal Joy, Kyle Leland, Jarvis R. McKinley, Kenna Michelle Morris, Jill Morrison, Austin Owen, Kent Overshown, Alfie Parker Jr., Justin Prescott, Jody Reynard, Peter Matthew Smith and Derek St. Pierre.

“Memphis” won four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Montego Glover), Outstanding Music (David Bryan) and Outstanding Orchestration. The production 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).

For more information about Memphis and the Kennedy Center, please visit kennedy-center.org.