Memphis the Musical Officially Opens in the West End
Rock ‘n Roll comes to London! While Americans are used to British imports coming to Broadway just about every other breath, the past few months in London have seen a flood of American born musicals coming to the West End! One of those musicals finally making its way there is the 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Memphis which tells the story of the birth of rock ‘n roll! Today, Luner on Theatre brings you that news that the Broadway’s Tony Award winning Memphis the Musical officially opens in London!
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.
Memphis began its previews on October 9th, 2015 at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre. The production officially opens tonight! Memphis is just one of several American musicals that is currently coming to life in London’s West End. Memphis premiered on Broadway in Fall 2009 and starred Chad Kimball as Huey Calhoun and Montego Glover as Felicia Farrell. The musical received mostly positive reviews from critics. The musical was nominated for 8 Tony Awards and went on to win 4 including what many call the triple crown of theatre; Best Original Score, Best Book and Best Musical.
The cast of Memphis is led by award-winning record artist Beverley Knight (Pictured Left) who stars as Felicia Farrell. Opposite her, stage star Killian Donnelly stars as radio DJ Huey Calhoun. Other leads include Rolan Bell as Delray, Tyrone Huntley as Gator, Claire Machin as Gladys, Jason Pennycooke as Bobby and Mark Roper as Mr. Simmons.
The ensemble of Memphis includes Keisha Atwell, Arielle Campbell, Mark Carroll, Joseph Davenport, Momar Diagne, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Kimmy Edwards, Hillary Elk,Laura Ellis, Charlotte Gorton, Benjamin Harrold, Waylon Jacobs, Rachel John, Dean Maynard, Devon McKenzie-Smith, Tim Newman, Simon Ray-Harvey, Jon Robyns, Ashley Rumble, Kyle Seeley, Helen Siveter, Dawnita Smith and Alex Thomas.
The creative team is helmed by Christopher Ashley (Pictured Left) as director and Sergio Trujillo was choreographer. Both of these gentlemen played pivotal roles in Memphis getting to Broadway and its success there. Tim Sutton is musical director. The rest of the creative team includes David Gallo as set designer, Paul Tazewell as costume designer, Howell Binkley as lighting designer, and Olivier-Award winner Gareth Owen as sound designer. Producers of Memphis in London include Junkyard Dog Productions, Marleen and Kenny Alhadeff, Barbara Freitag, Joseph Smith and John Brant.
I am so incredibly excited that Memphis is coming to London several years after making its Broadway debut! This musical is absolutely fantastic. Filled with great music and a wonderful story, Memphis captured Broadway at a time when it needed it most and has managed to bring joy to dozens of audiences in New York and now around the country. Memphis in London is a solid piece of American theatre representing Broadway in Europe. I hope British audiences find as much joy in this piece as American audiences did!
Broadway’s Tony Award winning Best Musical Memphis is now officially open on London’s West End! If you’re in London, don’t miss your chance to see this wonderful piece of theatre in its new life across the pond! For more information, visit Memphis the Musical’s Official Website, Facebook Page or Twitter Account! And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!