Hockadoo! Hockadoo! It’s hard to leave the Majestic Theatre after seeing Memphis and not have this word stuck in your head. No one really knows what it means, not even Huey, the DJ who coined the phrase and one of the characters in this musical that made its debut at the Majestic Theatre on Tuesday and is playing through Sunday.
What is clear, though, is the infectious quality of the music and the heart at the center of the story. This tale of forbidden love is based on actual events about a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break.
Last night's performance was to an almost full house. The first act started in an underground African-American rock and roll bar in 1950s Memphis, Tennessee. Lured by the music, Huey Calhoun, a white man, comes in and the place immediately goes quiet. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the story that explores race relations during this tumultuous time.
What keeps it from being a downer is humor, especially by Huey’s mother who delivered some of the funniest lines of the night. Musical numbers like “Scratch My Itch” had the audience grooving along with the beat and the emotional “Say a Prayer” ended the first act on a somber note. The night ended on a happy and hopeful note with “Steal Your Rock ‘n’ Roll” and with a standing ovation from the audience after a job well done.