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'Memphis' impacts JAX at the Times Union Theater

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Memphis the Musical, Musical Theater, Times Union Center, The Artist Series JAX, Chase

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“I had no idea what the show was about, but I’m sure glad that we came”; that was a reaction from one patron who attended the Broadway hit performance of Memphis at the Times Union Theater in JAX, on opening night.

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This musical is simply beautiful to see and enjoyable to hear. The singing, acting and dancing from the entire cast is stupendous. There is a church scene that will have some folks wanting to ‘Praise the Lord’ with the group. The double-dutch scene will take you back to an era when children knew how to get outside and play while having a good time (no matter what nationality they were).

How many people are so afraid or unsure of leaving their hometown that they miss-out on their dreams? That’s what happened to Joey Elrose (Huey Calhoun) one of the lead actors/singer/dancer, in the hit musical “Memphis” as his defiant attitude causes him to lose out. Elrose looks and acts a little like Woody Harrelson, nevertheless, he has tremendous vocals by himself, with his love interest (Felicia), or with the other members in the cast.

The interracial love between Huey Calhoun and Jasmin Richardson (Felicia) is a forbidden love, back in the day. The storyline is acted out as Richardson’s soulful sweet voice resounds across the stage and into your heart. She is in great shape and displays her well-developed physique in numerous scenes.

What was very impressive is the way that Jerrial T. Young (Bobby) can maneuver across the stage. He is a big man, but that doesn’t hinder his dancing, acting nor did I mention that the brother can sing.

Avionce Hoyles (Gator) doesn’t really spring forth until he belts-out a song right before intermission “Say A Prayer”. The tune will make you want to shout for joy as you head to the restrooms or concession stands.

The music is likened to that of the 1950’s when the lyrics meant something special. There’s a lot of soul, a little gospel and a lot of Tennessee sounds. Some of the scenes may remind you of “Hairspray” & “West Side Story”, nonetheless, Memphis is totally unique.

There is mention of the legendary Dick Clark and Pat Sibley who plays (Mama) will remind you of Elvis’ Mom. She almost makes you detest that she’s coming into a room, but towards the end, she is more amenable to her son’s relationship and his business success.

The eight piece orchestra beats any jazz club players around. They are on stage for the entire presentation, yet they are cloaked by a curtain that does not distract from the actions of the musical. The group is BAD! (that means good)

RaMond Thomas (Delray) gave a wonderful synopsis of the show, on Wednesday morning, when he appeared on the TV show “First Coast Living”. He said that the last performance of Memphis” (the musical on tour) will be ending this season somewhere in sunny New Mexico.

You’ve got to see the presentation in order to understand the whole story and celebrate the final victory. Don’t miss this one! You have a few more days to get your tickets. The weekend promises to be packed. This is another musical that this writer would see for a second time!

MEMPHIS
Dates:
          Times:
Tues., March 18, 2014    7:30 p.m.
Wed., Mar. 19        7:30 p.m.
Thurs., Mar. 20       7:30 p.m.
Fri., Mar. 21        8:00 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 22     2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Sun. Mar. 23     1:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Location: Times Union Center Performing Arts
     Moran Theater
     300 West Water St.
     Jacksonville, FL 32202

Tickets: Vary from $32.00 and are available at the Artist Series Box Office between 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, at (904) 442-BWAY {2929} or online 24/7. Discounts are available for groups of 10+ by calling (904) 442-2947 or groupsales@fscj.edu.

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