Memphis Monday: A Historical Look at Memphis The Musical

The premiere of Memphis The Musical is fast approaching and to highlight some of the cool aspects of the show, we’ll be doing a short series called “Memphis Monday” every Monday through Sept. 22.

Before fans feast their eyes on the high-energy regional premiere of the show, it’s important to showcase where it all started and where it’s going, not to mention its collection of awards it has gathered along the way.

Robert L. Neblett, an expert in American theatre, has prepared an educational study guide to accompany students for special student matinee performances of Memphis The Musical, which includes a historical look of the production:

History

Memphis: The Musical was originally developed at the North Shore Music Festival in Massachusetts and TheatreWorks in California in 2003-04, and subsequently staged at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2008 and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in 2009.

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Chad Kimball (far right) played Memphis DJ Huey Calhoun in the original Broadway production of Memphis The Musical, starting in 2009.

The musical opened on Broadway in October 2009, where it played for over 1,100 performances before closing in 2012. In late 2011, the actor playing Huey Calhoun, Chad Kimball, left the musical’s cast due to an injury, and was replaced by Adam Pascal, best known for starring in the original Broadway casts of Rent and Tim Rice and Elton John’s Aida.

In 2011-13, the producers mounted a successful national tour of the musical.

The original Broadway production was filmed in high-definition for a limited digital cinema release in 2011, after which it was released on DVD.

Memphis: The Musical will open in London’s West End in late 2014.

Awards

Memphis was nominated for 8 and won 4 Tony Awards (celebrating the best in Broadway theatre) in 2010, including:memphis-the-musical

BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL: Joe DiPietro

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Joe DiPietro and David Bryan

BEST ORCHESTRATIONS: Daryl Waters and David Bryan

BEST MUSICAL

Memphis won 4 Drama Desk Awards (celebrating the best in theatre throughout New York City, on Broadway and off), including:

OUTSTANDING MUSIC: David Bryan

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS: David Bryan and Daryl Waters

BEST MUSICAL

It also won 4 Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, including:

BEST SCORE: David Bryan and Joe DiPietro

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Sergio Trujillo

BEST MUSICAL

Don’t miss your chance to see this award-winning musical take The Rep stage Sept. 5-28! Get your tickets to show- single tickets are available now! Purchase online here and get more information about the show–including special events– here.

Les Miserables Nominated for 9 Arizoni Awards

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Big news here at the Arkansas Rep!

The Arizoni Theatre Awards nominations were announced yesterday and some of our staff and cast received nine nominations for the Phoenix Theatre production of Les Miserables, which took the stage here last March during our 2013-2014 MainStage Season.

Here is the rundown of award nominations:

  • Best Musical
  • Best Set Design for a Musical – Mike Nichols
  • Best Hair and Makeup Design – Rafael Castanera & Robert Pickens
  • Best Property Design – Lynda Kwallek
  • Best Choreography – David Baker: Fight – Musical
  • Best Actor in a Major Role of a Musical – James Zannelli
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Elizabeth Brownlee
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Caleb Reese*
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Michael Sample*

*performed here on The Rep Stage

The ariZoni Theatre Awards is a not-for-profit organization that promote the vitality of theatre in the Valley of the Sun and Maricopa County in Phoenix.

Winners will be announced on Sept. 15. Get more information about these awards here.