12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Lively, fun, and sometimes more...,
This review is from: Memphis: A New Musical (Audio CD)
With "American Idiot" deemed ineligible, this year's most likely Best Score Tony Winner appears to be "Memphis," by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, represented on this tuneful cast recording, which recalls the early days of rock n roll. Chad Kimball (excellent) stars as Huey, a white, wannabe disc jockey who falls in love with an African-American singer, Felicia (Montego Glover), and attempts to make her a star in the days of rampant racism.
If that plot sounds potentially heavy, rest assured that for the most part, things are kept light on this disc. In fact, when I first heard this recording, it struck me as a sort of cross between "Dreamgirls" and "Hairspray," without the impact of either. That is, until I got to the bluesy "Colored Woman," in which Felicia rails against the limitations of her race and decides to accept Huey's help. It's sung with such urgent vibrancy by the fantastic Glover that it's become my most-played show tune of 2010 (I bought this cd from the show's web site last December, before it was commercially available, so that's a lot of months of listening to it--and I'm not sick of it yet.).
And the rest of the score has grown on me, too, with "The Music of My Soul," "Memphis Lives in Me," and "Love Will Stand When All Else Falls," among the standouts. My major complaint with "Memphis" is that, given the subject, there really should be some more emotionally-charged, character driven songs along the lines of "Colored Woman." As it is, it comes across as just a bit too watered down, with a few too many songs, catchy as they are, not doing a lot to reveal character. On the other hand, this is a recording I keep coming back to, and I would be perfectly content if "Memphis" wins the Best Score Tony.