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New Musical Memphis Explores Rock 'n'Roll Roots in Black Music

The new musical Memphis explores the birth of rock 'n' roll by paying homage to its roots in the gospel, blues, and soul music of Memphis. Set in the early 1950's on the legendary Beale Street, the m

New Musical Memphis Explores Rock 'n'Roll Roots in Black Music

Tom Fudge:  Memphis is the name of a new musical that's opened at the La Jolla playhouse. Maybe I shouldn't say that it's not brand new. It was first workshopped in 2002, and it's been staged at the North Shore Theater in Massachusetts. But Joe DePietro, who wrote the book and lyrics, and David Bryan who composed the music and co-wrote the lyrics, have made a few changes anticipating its run in La Jolla.  The story of Memphis is centered around a character named Huey Calhoun. He's based on a real-life white DJ who was one of the first to play black music on the air in the 1950s. The R&B and rock and roll he put out over the airwaves provides the inspiration for the music in this show.

Memphis runs through September 28th at the La Jolla Playhouse.


  • Christopher Ashley is the La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director and he is directing Memphis. 
  • Joe DiPietro wrote the book and lyrics for Memphis.
  • David Bryan composed the music for Memphis.  He is the keyboardist and founding member of the band Bon Jovi. 
  • Montego Glover plays the lead female character named Felicia. 
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