Memphis: The Musical – It will ROCK your socks off!

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 4)

Toronto just got hit by a storm. A Rock n Roll storm that is! Memphis: The Musical, winner of the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical (among a bazillion other awards), celebrated its opening night on December 7th 2011 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts with an absolutely roof-blowing performance! The Dancap Production received the fastest standing ovation I’ve ever seen!

Book by Joe DiPietro & music by David Bryan, Memphis tells the tale of a young white radio DJ named Huey (Bryan Fenkart) who falls in love with a new form of music, dubbed “race music”, not excepted very much by society due to its black roots. Through his love for music he finds the love of his life, a black singer by the name of Felicia (Felicia Boswell) and through this musical you see the evolution of love, relationships and music. This story was inspired by the life and times of DJ Dewey Phillips and radio years of DJ Alan Freed, showcasing how black music featured its way into mainstream media & formulated the birth of Rock n Roll.

Memphis is truly a work of art. The effort gone into the production of the show is mind boggling. Choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) has a history of pushing the envelope with dance moves  but he has gone and pushed past that in Memphis. The movement and the flow is just magnificent! Most moments your jaw has just dropped by the kind of moves being performed on stage. To also make very clear, these are not just moves put in to look fancy. They respect the very foundation of what Memphis is all about and you truly see the art in everything being performed.

Trujillo’s choreography is further enhanced by the brilliance of Director Christopher Ashley. Every moment in the show, you feel the story within rather than just seeing it on stage. Act 1 being the stronger of the 2, the complete production has a story that flows and truly connects with the audience. That with the wonderful music by David Bryan, you are simply having an awesome time.

However, Theatre is nothing without those to perform the wonderful art. The cast of Memphis do more than just perform; they live their roles. Bryan Fenkart brings out the passion, desire, pain & true love that Huey has with the things he finds himself closest to. You understand the bond he shares even with people who don’t give a damn about him. You understand a man who is willing to do anything to showcase who he is and what he truly believes in. By the same token, Felicia Boswell truly invigorates the role of Felicia, the black singer Huey falls in love with, and her passion for music. Boswell’s performance truly shows both classy character and mature position on life, something that conflicts & compliments the ultra-talkative, “I will defy the world” Huey.

Fenkart’s & Boswell’s performances are complemented by their co-stars Quentin Earl Darrington who plays the to-the-point brother of Felicia, Will Mann who plays Bobby who’s really a lovable gigantic bear, Julie Johnson who plays Huey’s rather clueless mother and William Parry, the pretty hysterical radio station boss.

Memphis takes soulful music and spectacular dance and couples it with a love-filled story to provide an experience that will truly rock your socks off! Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the Broadway spectacle right here in Toronto!

Memphis plays the Toronto Centre for the Arts until December 24th. Please visit for ticket and show information. Don’t forget to tweet your experiences on twitter with hashtag #MemphisTO