Wednesday, July 2, 2014

President's Page: London's MEMPHIS Tours Memphis!

Beverley Knight will star in the role of "Felicia" in the London
production of MEMPHIS.
The London production of MEMPHIS, the 2010 Tony Award winning Broadway musical, is getting closer to its long-awaited opening where it will make a huge impact on potentially millions of European theatre lovers. 

MEMPHIS is scheduled to open at the Shaftesbury Theatre on October 23rd of this year.  We expect to have a long run for this show, and if my math is correct, about 2.5 million Europeans will get a lesson on the role our city has played in cultivating many of the musical genres that the world enjoys today.

Recently the "Queen of British Soul" Beverley Knight, who has been cast in the lead role of "Felicia," and David Bryan, keyboardist to Bon Jovi and composer for MEMPHIS, visited Memphis so that Beverley could get a taste of our incredible city in preparation for her role.  She experienced Memphis blues, rock and roll, and gospel in addition to barbeque from Central BBQ in Downtown Memphis.

The group, which also included members of the London press as well as Beverley’s husband and manager, visited the National Civil Rights Museum, Sun Studios, the Stax Museum and Academy, and she also attended a service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.  Highlights of the trip included Beverley and David performing at BB King's with the Stax Academy Student and Alumni Band and a recording session for "Colored Woman" - a signature song from the show - at Royal Studios.  Of course there was also great BBQ, soul food, and some late nights on Beale.  How’s that for a healthy dose of Memphis music, history and culture? 

I had the pleasure of seeing Beverley perform on the West End (the London equivalent of Broadway) when my wife and I went to London.  She took on the Whitney Houston role in the musical version of THE BODYGUARD.  Wow – was she fabulous!

I am excited to be putting together a group from Memphis to go to London in October for the opening.  It will be one memorable occasion for all going along.  There is limited availability for the London trip in the fall, so if you are interested in more information, contact Lauren Steinkamp at 901.529.4224.

Pat Halloran
Orpheum President and CEO

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