“Memphis the Musical” at Cain Park Looks at How Black & White Music Came Together in the 1950s

Thu 6/14-Sun 7/1

Memphis, Tennessee is a city often mentioned by Rock Hall naysayers as a place that SHOULD have had the Rock Hall, with its significance in blues, soul and as a launch pad for Elvis Presley. Be that as it may, it’s hard to deny the musical important of Memphis, which provides the background for Memphis the Musical on stage at Cain Park’s Alma Theatre through Sun 7/1.

The 2002 musical, with music and lyrics by Bon Jovi keyboard player David Bryan and lyrics and book by Joe DiPietro, is based on the story of Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips who, like Cleveland’s Alan Freed, was one of the first to play black music for white audiences. (Freed’s story is said to have provided some of the musical’s material, although both suffered similar fates, losing their careers in the late ’50s, succumbing to substance abuse and dying early). Taking place in the 1950s, it explores how black and white music came together and the resistance — often with tragic results — to it doing so.

Memphis the Musical runs Thursdays-Saturdays@ 7PM and Sundays @ 2PM. Tickets are $32 in advance, $34 day of show.

cainpark/MEMPHIS-THE-MUSICAL

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