The Times West Virginian

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January 9, 2014

‘Memphis the Musical’ coming to WVU

Spreads new light and inspiration into prejudice of 1950s

FAIRMONT — “Memphis the Musical” will take over Morgantown with what audiences have described as “exhilarating dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling plot.”

The show is set for 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center.

According to information provided by WVU Arts and Entertainment, the musical spreads new light and inspiration into the prejudice of the 1950s, which was a defining time in history. The story is inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of the 1950s, a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break.

The story begins when Huey, a young white man, visits the underground Beale Street Club to listen to rhythm and blues. When confronted by the owner, Delray Farrell, about his attendance at a black club, he explains his passion and connection to the music being created there.

Huey begins to fall for a young black singer at the club named Felicia. They work together to try and get recognition for black singers during the 1950s.

As the audience will see, Huey and Felicia’s love is never an easy battle, but only time will tell if it prevails.

“Memphis” features music from Bon Jovi’s founding member, keyboardist David Bryan, and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro.

David Ryan, pubic relations specialist for WVU Arts and Entertainment, said the show is geared toward anyone wanting to have a good time. However, he said it isn’t recommended to anyone under the age of 9.

In 2010, “Memphis” took home three Drama Desk Awards and four Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical.

It is directed by Tony-nominee Christopher Ashley and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo.

Ryan said tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations (Giant Eagle on Greenbag Road in Morgantown, and Walmart on Emily Drive in Clarksburg) or by calling 800-745-3000 or 304-293-SHOW. The Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m to buy tickets.

Prices for tickets vary from $44 to $60, and WVU students who have a valid ID can purchase a ticket for $28.

Ryan said the main doors will open an hour and a half before the show, while the theater doors will open 30 minutes prior. The show is expected to last around 2 1/2 hours with a 15-minute intermission.

Email Kristen Talerico at ktalerico@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KTalericoTWV.

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