Hockadoo & Keep it New: Adam Pascal Steps Into Memphis

HOCKADOO! Broadway lovers, theatre fans and more have more then enough reason to be excited for tonight at the 2010 Tony Award winning musical Memphis spices things up tonight and replaces its main man Chad Kimball and Broadway veteran Adam Pascal steps up into the role  and on the radio as Huey Calhoun.

Memphis is a musical is by David Bryan (music and lyrics) and Joe DiPietro (lyrics and book). The story, based off the true life story of Dewey Phillips, follows the story of Hue Calhoun – a white DJ being one of the first to play black music on the radio. The story follows him as he works his way up from being the underdog to become a face of the music scene not only in Memphis but in a changing nation. He easily is won over by Felicia Farrell, an African American singer who he meets at Delray’s Bar. However, falling in love with someone of the opposite race isn’t always the easiest thing in racially segregated Memphis in the 1950’s. Their story not only takes us on the adventure of love but how music can change all of us in the most important place – our heart.

The production was honored with 4 Tony awards in 2010 including the Tony Award for Best Musical. The production is currently running at the Shubert Theatre on 44th street. The musical has also been filmed and released in movie theatres as well as recently just launching a national tour beginning in the city its named after, Memphis! The production is directed by Christopher Ashley and choreographed by  Sergio Trujillo.

The production has been running on Broadway since October 19th, 2009 and most recently celebrated its two year anniversary on the Great White Way. The roles of Huey Calhoun and Felicia Farrell were originated by Chad Kimball and Montego Glover who have been with the production for quite some time before the run on Broadway. However, after damaging a nerve in a performance, Kimball has been indefinitely sidelined from the production. When this news broke, many wondered how the Tony Award winning musical wold fix and step up in this sudden and strange emergency – they responded with Adam Pascal.

Famous for his Off-Broadway, Broadway and film career in the hit musical RENT, Adam Pascal is just about as Broadway as it gets. He has also starred on Broadway in Disney’s Aida and Cabaret. He has also been seen in London’s Concert production of Chess. He has been quoted as saying “Broadway has been such a hugely important part of my career and I am thrilled to have found my next artistic challenge in Memphis’ Huey Calhoun. He is a complex and engaging character, and I look forward to singing that soulful score eight times a week at the Shubert Theatre.” (Playbill.com) Sources have confirmed that Pascal and Glover are contracted through the production for the next six months.

I do have to admit I am very interested to see how the Pascal factor will not only shape Memphis and it’s overall fan base but also the future of this production on Broadway. A solid musical, Memphis has been truly able to succeed as an original piece placed in a seasonal of commercial productions. The Pascal factor I believe will not only extend the fan base for those followers of his, RENT heads, and beyond but will also make it seem easy to have the role of Calhoun as a fill in spot. Something were Memphis producers can plug a large name even if it for a little time and still continue to make money off of the production.

However, Memphis doesn’t really need to worry about plugging and making money on Broadway. The musical, despite running for two solid years now, continues to sell out many nights, mostly weekends, and is a family friendly show for Broadway and enough of a show for theatre lovers. The production doesn’t pull stunts suggested above like many other Broadway shows because it doesn’t have to. It figures out what works best for them and they make that happened for a long period of time. And for that I can truly can say congratulations.

Luner on Theatre definitely plans on seeing Adam Pascal while he is featured in the production and a review will be posted. We’ll keep you up to date on that situation via our Facebook or Twitter – so keep an eye out for that!

So Tonight, Memphis will get the same old music but in a new twist, a new style and a new spin as Adam Pascal steps into the role of Huey Calhoun in the Tony Award Winning Broadway musical Memphis! If you think you don’t need to see it because you’ve seen Chad Kimball, I’d still encourage you to check out the new factor of Pascal being involved. I definitely think it will change a lot of things up form the story to the overall energy of the production. Memphis is currently running at the Shubert Theatre on 44th Street! Check out Memphis on Broadway’s Official Website for More Information. And of course, stay tuned to Luner on Theatre as we bring you all your need to know theatre news about Memphis, Broadway and more! Hockadoo folks!

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