July 2, 2012

Starlight release: Memphis comes to Kansas City July 10-15

MEMPHIS comes to Kansas City July 10 -15

Tony-award winning musical makes its KC debut at Starlight Theatre

MEMPHIS, winner of four Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Orchestrations, makes it Kansas City debut at Starlight Theatre July 10 – 15.

"It's an incredibly energetic show that once audiences see it, they immediately understand why MEMPHIS won a Tony for Best Musical. It has all the elements of a great musical: fantastic music (by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan), exceptional dancing and a story that although serious at times is playful and humorous too," said Denton Yockey, president and executive producer of Starlight Theatre.

MEMPHIS takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of Memphis during the segregated 1950s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun falls in love with everything he shouldn't: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. It is loosely based on the true story of Dewey Philips whose nightly radio show, "Red Hot and Blue" had a format that integrated the airways with rhythm and blues, pop, jazz, rock 'n' roll and country music.

"It's an epic American tale about the birth of rock and roll," said David Bryan, composer and Bon Jovi's founding member and keyboardist. "Ultimately, it's a story about how music helped bring about social change, and how this music helped bring people together."
The show features a brand new Tony winning score with music by Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (Nice Work If You Can Get It, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change), who also penned the musical's book. Bryan and DiPietro also collaborated on the award-winning off-Broadway hit, The Toxic Avenger.

MEMPHIS is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner With Andre), with direction by Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, who is currently represented by three shows on Broadway (Memphis, Jersey Boys and Leap of Faith).

MEMPHIS also won four Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Montego Glover), Outstanding Music (David Bryan) and Outstanding Orchestration (David Bryan and Daryl Waters).

David Richardson of WOR Radio calls MEMPHIS "The biggest hit on Broadway" while Charles Isherwood of The New York Times says, "David Bryan evokes the powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of the Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period." The New York Post raves "Of such thrills, Broadway is made. " Newsday calls the show "A smash! An extraordinary show. " The Daily News promises that MEMPHIS will "Blast you out the door humming and happy."

Tickets for MEMPHIS are $10 to $85 and are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight Box Office at 4600 Starlight Road. Discount prices for groups of 15 or more are available. For information about group pricing, contact group sales manager Stacey Million at 816.997.1137 or stacey.million@kcstarlight.com.

All performances begin at 8 p.m. The production is sponsored by Panera Bread. "Memphis Meal: Feel the Barbecue Beat," pre-show dinner will be available in The Helzberg Diamonds VIP Club. Reservations can be made by calling the Starlight Box Office before 3 p.m. the night of the show. Walk-up diners are also welcome.

Starlight also welcomes theatre-goers to arrive early to get a free, behind-the-scenes look at the theatre and its rich history in Kansas City. Tours begin at 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 7 p.m. Patrons interested in touring Starlight theatre should meet at the top of the theatre behind Terrace Section 1.

Notable Dates: July 14, Backstage Bash – post-show party for young professionals. Event cost includes ticket to the show, food and drinks. Details available after July 3 at kcstarlight.com.
July 14 - Performance will be described for the blind and visually impaired by Kansas Audio-Reader Network. July 15 - Performance will be interpreted for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Presenting Broadway entertainment since 1951, the non-profit Starlight Theatre Association is Kansas City's oldest and largest performing arts organization. The Association operates, programs and maintains the largest stage in the United States, as well as the 16-acre Starlight Theatre complex located in Swope Parkway. While assuming all annual operating costs for the complex, the Association also raises funds for capital improvements and a variety of programs, including national Broadway musical performances, concerts, community outreach and education. Since 2000, the Association has contributed more than $25 million of privately funded improvements to the Kansas City, Mo.-owned Starlight Theatre. Each Broadway season, Starlight donates more than 11,000 tickets to its performances to regional non-profit organizations serving the disadvantaged.

In 2011, Starlight Theatre was selected as the "Favorite Performing Arts Venue" and the "Favorite Concert/Live Music Venue" in the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association's Visitors' Choice Awards program. Starlight also received a Gold Award for "Best Performing Arts Venue" and Silver Award for "Best Theater" in Ingram's 2011 Best of Business Kansas City Awards, as well as the award for "Best Live Theater Venue" in the KC Magazine City's Best 2011 competition.

For more information contact:
Karen Massman VanAsdale

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