Review: “Memphis: The Musical” at Bob Carr through Sunday, May 19

The smash Broadway musical Memphis comes to Orlando for the last stop of its national tour, which plays through Sunday at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Based loosely on Dewey Phillips, Memphis tells the story of a white Memphis DJ in the 1950s who was one of the first in the nation to broadcast black music. What could easily be lost or discounted as simply a period piece or somber stagecraft is thrilling, relevant and thought-provoking thanks to writers Joe DiPietro and David Bryan. Bryan Fenkart as “Huey Carmichael” is a quirky delight to this somewhat heavy-themed production. Felicia Boswell  as Huey’s love interest, “Felicia Ferrell” truly lifts the show with her larger-than-life, savage singing.  Julie Johnson who, as “Huey’s Mama,” is a show-stopper, especially with the song “Change Don’t Come Easy” –  a message that truly transcends from 1950’s civil rights issues among blacks and whites to today’s ongoing LGBT rights struggles.

Photo by Paul Kolnik