Memphis | Cadillac Palace Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Memphis New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 4 2011

This schematic, nuance-free musical chronicles the rise and fall of a misfit white DJ as he attempts to promote black music and court a black singer in 1950s Memphis. Neither David Bryan's tuneless score nor Sergio Trujillo's anything-for-attention choreography do much to evoke the era, and Joe DiPietro's book routinely sacrifices credibility to make room for big production numbers and expedient character transformations. Most disappointingly, the show portrays jim crow racism as discrete episodes of inconvenience, condescension, and threat rather than the pervasive, terrorizing system it was, passing up a chance to give the stage world real depth. Still, director Christopher Ashley packs his touring production with first-rate singers and dancers who salvage a handful of affecting moments. —Justin Hayford

Price: $37-$95

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