Broadway hit 'Memphis' comes to Proctors

'Memphis' the musical born from true story of race relations in the South
Updated 04:46 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writing a major Broadway hit has a way of reshuffling your credentials.

For many years, playwright Joe DiPietro was best known for creating the book and the lyrics of the long-running off-Broadway revue, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

Now, DiPietro is best known as the librettist and co-lyricist of "Memphis," which won the 2010 Tony as best musical and makes its Capital Region premiere with the national tour's opening Tuesday at Proctors.

"Memphis" was conceived as a fictionalized biography of Dewey Phillips, a disc jockey who was one of the first to introduce black R&B to white audiences in the segregated South of the 1950s.

DiPietro warmed to the subject when veteran producer George W. George asked him to write the show's book in 2000. But early in the decade-long development — during which time George died and other producers took up the show — DiPietro decided to go with a fictional scenario...

His crucial decision was to tell two intertwined love stories — not just protagonist Huey Calhoun's love for what was then called "race music," but his love for Felicia, a vibrant black singer whose career he promotes.

At a glance


When: Opens 8 p.m. Tuesday; continues 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

Where: Proctors, 432 State St., Schenectady

Tickets: $20, $35, $45, $50, $60, $70

Info: 518-346-6204;

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