Memphis

About the Musical Theater Broadcast

Broadway’s smash hit musical Memphis, winner of four Tony Awards® including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book and Best Orchestrations, comes to THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, February 24 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Featuring the original Broadway cast, including Tony nominees Chad Kimball and Montego Glover, as well as Derrick Baskin, J. Bernard Calloway, James Monroe Iglehart, Michael McGrath and Cass Morgan. Memphis is the historic first Best Musical Tony Award winner to air on U.S. national television with its original principals while simultaneously continuing a successful Broadway run and national tour.

Charles Isherwood of The New York Times observed, “[Composer] David Bryan evokes the powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of the Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period.” The New York Post raved “Of such thrills, Broadway is made.” The Associated Press called Memphis “The very essence of what a Broadway musical should be.”

Memphis takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50′s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun (Kimball) falls in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer Felicia Farrell (Glover). Memphis is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.

Filled with high-octane dancing, songs that perfectly capture the era, and an absorbing tale of fame and forbidden love, the show offers soaring emotion and roof-raising rock ‘n’ roll.

The show’s Tony®-winning original score features music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical’s book. . The show is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner With Andre), with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, (Jersey Boys, Next to Normal).

The critically acclaimed production of Memphis won a total of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters). Memphis is currently in its 3rd smash year on Broadway, delighting audiences nightly at the Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street).

Memphis recently launched a U.S. national tour in Memphis, TN, which opened to critical acclaim in October 2011 at the historic Orpheum Theatre.

Memphis will be released on Blu-ray™, DVD and digital download on January 24th by Shout! Factory, in association with Broadway Worldwide.

Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

Great Performances is funded by The National Endowment for the Arts, the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, The Starr Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Joseph A. Wilson, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, public television viewers, and PBS.

For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

The high definition production was captured by Broadway Worldwide live-in-performance at the Shubert Theatre. Broadway Worldwide is led by executive producer Bruce Brandwen, with five-time Emmy® winning director Don Roy King and Grammy® winning sound producer Matt Kaplowitz.