First it was opera, and now the best of Broadway. The Durango Stadium 9 is becoming much more than just another movie theater.
The local cinema, in conjunction with Fathom Events theyre the ones who bring regular The Met: Live in HD simulcasts and screened The Grateful Dead Movie last week will show the Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Memphis, for three nights and a matinee beginning Thursday.
The show was recorded live at a recent performance in New York City at the Shubert Theatre, where it regularly plays to sold- out audiences.
Our local cinema is one of more than 530 nationwide that will show Memphis, and the big-screen version includes an interesting behind-the-scenes look at how the musical was caught on film.
The show is a winner in story and music alike. Joe DiPietros book and lyrics and David Bryans score both won Tonys in addition to the overall win for Best Musical. Bryan is perhaps better known as the keyboard player and founding member of Bon Jovi. Memphis is directed by Christopher Ashley and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo of Jersey Boys fame and the cast features Chad Kimball, Montego Glover, Derrick Baskin, J. Bernard Calloway, James Monroe Iglehart, Michael McGrath and Cass Morgan.
Memphis deals with a fascinating and often disturbing time in the 1950s when rhythm and blues was morphing into what would become rock n roll. The story centers on a disc-jockey named Huey Calhoun who gave black musicians and singers air-time that paved the way for white guys like Elvis and the Beatles to cash in on the new sound.
The show tackles racial prejudice head-on, insisting in the life and words of its hero that excellence in music is colorblind, and suggesting that the new sounds in pop music served as a spearhead for greater equality in race relations generally. Thats a lot of freight for a mere musical, but Memphis pulls it off.