Monday, August 17, 2015

Hockadoo! MEMPHIS is in Georgia!


That was Huey Calhoun's calling card, invented during his debut as a radio disc jockey. Refusing to listen to society's, "That can't be done!", Huey enthusiastically brings 'Rock-n-Roll of the South' to white listening audiences, and eventually television. And he falls in love.

MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre
MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre

MEMPHIS: The Musical is on stage at Aurora Theatre now through August 30, 2015. I'd been wanting to experience Aurora Theatre for a few years and what a magnificent performance for my debut in their audience. If you've not been, make time to see MEMPHIS and enjoy the fantastic Aurora, celebrating their 20th season!

MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre
MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre

The wonderfulness of this performance, of a show that's a four Tony Award-winning musical, is exponential from curtain to close that a singular writing cannot express. It's without doubt a must-see, must-experience show.

I will share, with enthusiastic applause, that Suzi Bass Award-nominee Naima Carter Russell (Felicia) is magnificent! Her performance transports you to another time, to another place, on a melody that will float your soul. This is her fourth show at Aurora Theatre and I hope she's back for many, many more!

There are so many incredible actors/singers in this show whose performance I thoroughly enjoyed. They collectively bring to the stage a Broadway-caliber performance. Allow me to name a few: Eric Moore (Bobby) has perhaps the most electrifying voice on stage—beyond brilliant, as an actor and singer! Cecile E. Washington, Jr. (Delray Jones) was incredibly convincing as his character—highly impressed! Eugene H. Russell IV, I feel like I've seen him perform before, yet this was the most delightfully surprising character—what a voice! Megan McFarland, (Gladys) who also I feel like I've seen perform before, is brilliant—so convincing that you don't like her character until the end! Xylina Stamper was my favorite (they're all magnificent) in the ensemble...enthusiastic and believable. Oh, and Edward McCreary, who I recently saw in another play not long ago, is also awesome.

MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre
MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre

Have you ever known an egosurfer? Someone who Google's themselves...Google's their name to see if they're on the Internet? Perhaps that was an early Internet term, but yes, I've been guilty of it myself. The results are much more rewarding when I couple my name with "wanderlust ATLANTA". Ego-surfing can be great fun! Just sayin'.

But the reason I mention this is because—and this was after I already had tickets—I learned just before the show that the leading man's name is Travis! Travis Smith. What I didn't expect was that the character, DJ Huey Calhoun, felt like one of your most endeared friends even before intermission. I was so caught up in everyone's performance, I didn't want an intermission. Don't you love it when brilliant acting and hip-swaying singing wholly engulfs your attention?

MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre
MEMPHIS: The Musical | Aurora Theatre

A co-production with Theatrical Outfit, the Tony Award-winning (2010, Best Musical) MEMPHIS: The Musical is running at Aurora Theatre through August 30, 2015. There will be a one-week break between performances, but do visit Aurora Theatre!

Here's another great reason to see it at Aurora. I went with my best friend Barry and we met in Lawrenceville before the show. It was the first time in downtown Lawrenceville for both of us. What a quaint and charming town! We'd planned on grabbing a bite before the show and did we ever pick the right place!

Barry was texting local friends for restaurant recommendations and I was checking out the storefronts (I totally want to go back to visit the comic book store Galactic Quest) with a grumbling belly. We went in one place that we quickly decided was too loud for catching-up conversation and went instead to Dominick's. Their tagline—Little Italy. Lotta Food.—is an absolute truth! I wholeheartedly recommend them for your dinner-and-a-show excursion!

Quickly, speaking of food, when I was in Memphis, Tennessee, many years ago, another friend and I went to the legendary Charles Vergos' Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs for some of the best BBQ I've ever had. We ordered a few slabs via mail-order not too long after we returned home. was that good! I wish I'd experience the contemporary music scene in Memphis, but alas, that's something to look forward to. In the meantime, there's MEMPHIS: The Musical!

So that you see what an amazing treat you're in store for, here's a clip of the Broadway cast of MEMPHIS: The Musical at the 2010 Tony Awards:

I want to offer a heartfelt "Thank you" to BRAVE Public Relations for the tickets (Chelsea is awesome!) and to Aurora Theatre for the incredible hospitality (especially Jennifer, who looks remarkably like Jeri Ryan), even though they didn't know I would be writing about the experience. You guys rock!

Go see MEMPHIS: The Musical at Aurora Theatre by August're going to love it!

Keeping it real: While the complimentary tickets are greatly appreciated, all opinions are my own...I will not write about anything I don't enjoy. THIS show I wholeheartedly enjoyed!

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