OKLAHOMA CITY, November 9, 2011—“Memphis” is a show that starts with rock and roll and ends with soul. The winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical is still running on Broadway, and is now on a national tour as well. The show will run at the Oklahoma City Civic Center through November 13th.
The show focuses on Huey Calhoun (Bryan Fenkart), a white DJ, who falls in love with Felicia Farrell (Felicia Boswell), a black singer, in the city of Memphis. Taking place in the 1950’s, Huey was the first DJ to play black music on an all white station and craziness ensues.
Spanning over several years, we see Huey and Felicia’s rise of their careers and their relationship that must be kept quiet in the segregated South.
This show is crazy. The energy and the music never stop. It has a little dash of “Dream Girls” and a helping of “Hairspray” but all of the music is original. The first act is a little long in time but you don’t feel it. With 12 musical numbers the show never slows down for you to notice how long it’s been going into intermission. This is the first show I have been to where people at intermission were buzzing.
The second act flies by as well with more hits and more laughs. It’s clear why this won the Tony as the music is good and catchy. The ending is a little abrupt with no real resolution, but the that didn’t stop the crowd from rising out of their seats to clap along and cheer for the conclusion.
Fenkhart steals the show with his energy and timing. Boswell’s voice is sweet yet powerful, completely convincing you that Huey could fall in love just from the sound of it outside of the club.
Two performers whose voices and performances blew me away were Will Mann as Bobby and Rhett George as Gator.
The musical “Oklahoma” has been a badge of honor for the state of Oklahoma and “Memphis” has a real opportunity to be the same thing for the city. This will stand the test of time with these songs, particularly “Memphis Lives in Me”, will be a calling card for the bbq capital. Graceland, 36 Mafia and the musical “Memphis.”
If you like to have fun and aren’t scared of enjoying yourself you should see this. If those are things that bother you then relax.
Jason Black is a regular sports contributor on America’s Morning News and America’s Radio News. Coincidently, or not, he also does movie reviews for KJ103 and102.1 Kissin’ Country. You can also follow Jason on Twitter@jasonblack23.
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