MEMPHIS Musical Coming to Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach • Long Beach Post


Memphis is perhaps most famous for its status as the birthplace of rock n’ roll, soul and blues, as well as it being the hometown of the flashy and mighty icons Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

Rebellions to societal norms and culture were common in the 1950s when segregation was ripe and a cultural revolution was stirring, especially in music, which begs the question: would forbidden love work out in an era defined by fame, greed and separation for two individuals of different race?

You’ll have to find out in Memphis, brought to you by Musical Theatre West (MTW), as it airs at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center from October 21 to November 6.

The four-time Tony Award-winning musical is described by MTW as “filled with roof-raising rock n’ roll, high-octane dancing, and an extraordinary tale of fame and forbidden love that sparked a cultural revolution.”

Memphis will feature musical scores and lyrics by David Bryan, Bon Jovi’s leading keyboardist and founding member, and script by Joe DiPietro, according to the release. Inspired by actual events, the musical is about the story of rebellious DJ Huey Calhoun, who pursues a romantic and professional relationship with black singer Felicia Farrell as they challenge the social norms of the 1950s with their music and careers. According to the release, it was a smash hit with audiences and critics when the musical opened for the first time on Broadway in 2009.

In a favorable review, the New York Times gushed about composer David Bryan, praising his work as evocative of the “powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of the Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period.”

According to the MTW release, Memphis earned nine nominations for the Tony Awards and won four of them in Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book, and Best Orchestrations.

Here is the full schedule for Memphis:

  • PREVIEW PERFORMANCE | Friday, October 21, 8:00PM
  • OPENING NIGHT | Saturday, October 22, 8:00PM
  • Sunday, October 23, 1:00pm
  • Friday, October 28, 8:00pm
  • Saturday, October 29, 2:00PM & 8:00PM
  • Sunday, October 30, 1:00PM and 6:00PM
  • Thursday, November 3, 8:00PM
  • Friday, November 4, 8:00PM
  • Saturday, November 5, 2:00PM & 8:00PM
  • Sunday, November 6, 1:00PM

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online at or through phone at 562.856.1999, ext. 4. You can also purchase in person at the Musical Theatre West Ticket Office at 4350 East 7th St, Long Beach, CA 90804.

The Carpenter Performing Arts Center is located at 6200 East Atherton, Long Beach, CA 90815.

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