Tune your radio dial to a Memphis, Tennessee station circa 1950 and get caught up in the sensational sounds emanating from that small rectangular brown plastic box. The Disc Jockey of the hour is a young, naïve and white Huey Calhoun who sets out to bring a new style of music to the airwaves and unintentionally unleashes a tornado of novel sound.
This Tony Award-winning 2010 Best Musical – “Memphis”- is bringing its exuberant excitement to the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford from Tuesday, January 10 to Sunday, January 15. With music and book by David Bryan (Bon Jovi) and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), we turn in to Huey’s plot to bring the underground music he’s heard in clubs, the lowdown jive of rhythm and blues and rock and roll, up into the light of day.
Defying his ultra-conservative radio station owners, this adventurous high school dropout risks it all to play music that has been termed “racial” and inadvertently starts a sensation on the air. Discovering a new black singer Felicia, he also finds love for the first time, in a relationship forbidden by society, that he must keep hidden.
Tunes like “Memphis Lives,” “Say a Prayer” and “The Music of My Soul” focus on the passion this new sound engenders in Huey and underscore the tensions and conflicts of integration at that time and that place. Hold on to your bobby sox as this musical and dance feast for the eyes, ears and feet rocks and rolls itself into your heart.
For tickets ($17-72), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Get into the groove with this “West Side Story” tale of forbidden love that tells the true tale of a DJ whose passion for a bogey beat sets a town to sizzle.