DENVER (CBS4) – It won the Tony Award for best musical two years ago, but do you know anything about “Memphis” the musical?
CBS4 Critic at Large Greg Moody traveled to Seattle last week to see it, and now he calls it a must-see show.
“Loosely based on the story of 1950s Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips, ‘Memphis’ is the best musical Tony winner that you have never heard of,” Moody said. “It’s spent its entire time on stage flying under the radar, and that’s a shame because it’s one of the freshest shows I’ve seen in years.”
Huey Calhoun, played by Bryan Fenkhart, is a high-energy, near obnoxious Memphis DJ in the 1950s determined to bring rhythm and blues — race music — and one singer in particular to the city’s attention.
“We always hear, ‘I didn’t know anything about the show going in, but now it’s one of my favorites.’ It’s almost better when people don’t know about it because they’re taken by surprise as by how moved they are by it,” Fenkhart said.
Felicia Boswell is magnificent in the female lead in a show that is one of the few truly original shows on Broadway — finding its audience as it goes.
“With the success of Broadway, and I’m very proud of the success of the tour, I think people are hearing about us and they’re knowing about the story and they’re excited about us coming to their city,” Boswell said. “We’re still pushing through for a bigger audience.”
It’s not based on a movie or TV show or book. It’s a fresh new look at music and race in America.
Memphis opens next Tuesday night at the Buell Theater and runs through Oct. 21. For tickets call (303) 893-4100 or visit the Denver Center for Performing Arts website.
– Greg Moody is CBS4’s Critic At Large. His reports on CBS4 News are featured on the CBSDenver.com Entertainment section.