Playhouse’s “Memphis” Heading To Broadway

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La Jolla Playhouse’s acclaimed 2008 musical Memphis, winner of the San Diego Critics’ Circle Outstanding New Musical Award, is on its way to Broadway. La Jolla Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, who directed the Playhouse production, will helm the New York version as well. It is scheduled to open in October.

Memphis, which played to sold-out houses at La Jolla Playhouse last fall, features music and lyrics by Bon Jovi keyboardist and founding member David Bryan, and book and additional lyrics by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, All Shook Up). This acclaimed new musical follows the life of the first white deejay who dared to play black music at the center of the radio dial. Taking place on legendary Beale Street in the early 1950s, this dynamic show explores the passion and roots of rock ’n’ roll music, featuring an original gospel, rhythm, blues and early rock score fused with a contemporary sensibility.

Watch David Bryan and Chad Kimball perform “Music of My Soul” from Memphis

Ashley was originally slated to direct the Playhouse’s fall 2009 production of The Big Time, but due to his new Memphis rehearsal schedule, the Playhouse has chosen the world premiere musical, Bonnie & Clyde, as its final show of the season.

“We are overjoyed that Memphis has found a home on Broadway,” said La Jolla Playhouse Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg. “We are confident that Bonnie & Clyde will be a sensational new musical for our audiences and a terrific finale to our 2009/10 season.”

This new theatre piece is based on the lives of Depression-era outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, whose notorious exploits captured the country’s imagination. Bonnie & Clyde features music by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Dracula), lyrics by Tony Award-winner Don Black (Sunset Boulevard, Song and Dance), book by Ivan Menchell (The Cemetery Club, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), and directed by Jeff Calhoun (Deaf West’s Big River and Pippin, Grease!). This seductive and cinematic new musical examines how a troubled Texas teen and a love-sick waitress became America’s most infamous couple, with a thrilling new score that combines rockabilly, blues and gospel music.

“The timing of Memphis’ move to Broadway turns out to be wonderfully serendipitous for the Playhouse, as it allows us to bring our audiences the stunning new musical Bonnie & Clyde,” noted Ashley. “From the creative dream team of Frank Wildhorn, Don Black, Ivan Menchell and Jeff Calhoun, this theatrical gem gives audiences a fresh look at the now-mythical tale of one of the most infamous couples in history.”

The run dates for Bonnie & Clyde will be the same as the previously announced production (Nov. 10 – Dec. 20), and subscriber performance dates/time remain unchanged.


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