News Column

UAFS Season Of Entertainment Presents 'Memphis'

November 9, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 09--One of the most exciting stories will merge with some outstanding, genre-hopping music this month in Fort Smith.

"Memphis," a four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway play, will be performed at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Arkansas Best Corporation Performing Arts Center, 55 S. Seventh St. The popular musical is part of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith's Season of Entertainment 33 schedule and will captivate every single audience member, said Stacey Jones, UAFS associate vice chancellor for campus and community events.

"This will be the first time for this four-time Tony-winner to be here in our market, and we're ecstatic that this is happening," he said. "This production will show people all about the underground dance clubs Memphis had back in the 1950s.

"The singing and dancing are a lot of fun, and the story is inspired, actually, by real events," Jones added.

Featuring choreography by Colombian dancer-choreographer Sergio Trujillo ("Jersey Boys") and a musical score by keyboardist-songwriter David Bryan (Bon Jovi), the two-hour musical follows an ambitious radio disc jockey based on real-life DJ Dewey Phillips. The DJ wants to "change the world" via his talents, connections and personal drive in the music field, Jones said.

"What happens onstage is just great," he said. "People will be amazed by the music, dancing and everything."

The DJ's plans do take a detour when he falls in love with a dream-filled club singer, Jones said.

"There's a lot of energy in this, and it's a great mix of everything," he said of the play, which incorporates James Brown-like funk, Motown-style vocal harmonies, Chuck Berry-esque guitar parts and girl-group singing. "There's rock 'n' roll and other genres."

Also released in DVD form in 2012, "Memphis" will present a key turning point in popular culture, Jones said.

"For me, 'Memphis' presents such an exciting time in music," he said. "It was an era when different people were discovering different forms of music. They were learning about the different styles and genres of music that were out there, so this really is a coming-of-age play. People won't want to miss this."

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(c)2013 Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.)

Visit Times Record (Fort Smith, Ark.) at www.swtimes.com

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