Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Make Me Stronger

Memphis= so/so So I just got back from a week in New York City! I was a chaperon for my niece's dance team while they traveled to NYC for a dance competition. Usually I head into the town to see as many shows as I can squeeze in but this trip someone else picked the show, Memphis. The dance teams coach chose Memphis for two reasons: 1 it just won the Tony for Best Musical and 2nd one of the dance teams alumni who know lives in NYC suggested it a a must see for the dance numbers alone. I must admit that seeing Memphis was at the bottom of my list of shows to see but I put my feelings aside and went in with as open a mind as I could.

What is Memphis you ask? Memphis is a musical with music and lyrics by David Bryan, additionally lyrics and book by Joe DiPietro. The story is loosely based on a real life Memphis disc jockey named Dewey Phillips, who was one of the first white DJs to play black music back in the 1950s. Mr. Phillips falls in love with Felicia Farrell an African American Rock and Roll singer and the story falls their roller coaster relationship. It has big dance numbers, soulful gospel numbers, and marvelous costumes and set's that make you feel like your are really in the hear of Memphis.

Overall I would have to say "I liked it but I did not LOVE it". The dancing and talent of all the actors on stage was nothing a showcase of Broadway's best and featured name of the original cast members such as Chad Kimball as Huey Calhoun, Montego Glover as Felicia Farrell and Derrick Baskin as Gator. But I had a problem the overall story lacking an connect with the audience. I felt the book was Hairspray for adults but without the happy ending. Don't get me wrong not every story does not have to have a happy ending, come on two of my favorite musicals are Next to Normal, and Spring Awakening (not happy endings). But I left seeing Memphis feeling nothing, no emotional change or enlightenment. I feel a musical happy or sad should leave you with an understanding yourself or new view of the world (whether big or small). When looking back at the 2010 season I do not understand how this show could win Best Musical over the mind-blowing American Idiot (talk about a show that makes you re-think what Broadway is). In the end is Memphis a good night of theatre, yes. Is it a must see of the Great White Way, no.

"Make Me Stronger"-song from Memphis

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