This year’s Broadway season blew past me and left me coughing in a plume of smoke. It was only after the Tony Awards, the New York City theater community’s highest honor, had been handed out in June that I noticed a vibrant new production that I should share with you all. The show, Memphis, is about an ambitious young black singer who makes her way through underground clubs in Memphis in the 1950s, and who falls for a white DJ. Here is a preview clip from the show’s own Web site.
I only realized what a big impact this musical was having on Broadway after I read a business article in The New York Times about how productions with black casts, producers and investors were helping prop up ticket sales in the district. I went to a fine and performing arts high school, a magnet school, so I’m used to visiting major and minor artistic venues, and I knew Phylicia Rashad was a seasoned a regal stage actress way before the all black revival “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” for the 2008-2009 season. Hubby and I (and Baby in the womb, kicking) had the pleasure of watching Ms. Rashad, James Earl Jones and Terrence Howard in that production. Anika Noni Rose, who played Maggie, did not perform the night we saw it. I was disappointed, because the critics said she pretty much ran the show whenever she took the stage. Marja Harmon, her understudy, performed instead. Harmon was amazing in her Broadway debut and more than held up her part of the stage considering who her cast mates were!
Maybe Hubby and I will check out Memphis, because I love a musical as much as a play. And if you all ever find yourselves on vacation in New York City, pop in and see what the fuss is about.