Jasmin Richardson as Felicia and Joey Elrose as Huey in Memphis. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Some of us (ahem) love musical theater. We like to leave the show tapping our toes and, off-key or not, humming our favorite numbers. And, yes, we realize the rest of you find this annoying — which is why we try to keep our behavior in check, indulging only on solo car trips or in the shower. When no one else is home, we might even try a few dance moves, just to see what we can do. Set in 1950s underground dance clubs, Memphis is sure to inspire this kind of behavior.
The Broadway in Columbia show — driven by Tony-winning tunes (Best Original Score, 2010) and inspiring dance numbers — comes to the Koger Center Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
And who’s responsible for putting together these dance moves? Former Columbia City Ballet dancer Jermaine Rembert, at least in part.
Rembert, associate choreographer for Memphis, began his dance career in Sumter at the Freed School of Performing Arts, and later danced with Columbia City Ballet, at Carowinds and Walt Disney World, and on Broadway.
“I love that it’s fun, sexy, playful and there is a lot of it,” Rembert says of the choreography in the show.
Memphis is a show for audiences who love singing and dancing. But unlike many musicals, this one has a story worth following. While the music and dancing are upbeat, Memphis depicts a time that was far from perfect.
Throughout history, young people have embraced change before their older counterparts, and, in some cases, this begins with music. Set in the 1950s, the show — which ran from 2009 to 2012 on Broadway — tells the story of Huey Calhoun, a white radio personality and black music enthusiast, and Felicia Farrell, a talented black singer. Calhoun (based loosely on the real Dewey Phillips) is one of the first white DJs to play black music. Calhoun just wants to play the music he loves, including the music of the woman he comes to love. Sounds simple, right?
“I love the story and the music,” Rembert says. “This show talks about a time in our history that some people are starting to forget about or don’t know about. I also love that it’s a show for everyone from adults to kids. I hope the Columbia audience enjoys every aspect of Memphis as I do.”
The music and choreography drive the story. This is Rembert’s second time working with choreographer Sergio Trujillo; they first worked together on the national tour of All Shook Up, a show featuring the music of Elvis Presley.
“I was happy to get the chance to work with him again, even happier when he asked me to be part of the pre-production process,” Rembert says. “I like the way Sergio always has a different take on his work. He considers the time period of the show, the style of dance and age of the characters, and he really takes into account how the choreographer will help tell the story.”
Every musical is an escape for the audience. After all, most of us don’t respond to conflict with crowd-pleasing harmonies and vivacious group dance routines (though maybe some of us would, if we only had a little more talent). The score and choreography of Memphis take the audience away, while the story is a reminder of a history they shouldn’t forget.
Those of us who understand the joy of musical theater already have our tickets. During what can be a slow time for the arts in Columbia, perhaps the rest of you should jump on the bandwagon, and enjoy a show that’s about more than rousing choruses and high-kicking chorus boys. See you at the Koger Center — and I promise not to sing until I reach the privacy of my own car.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8 at the Koger Center (1051 Greene St.) Tickets range from $47 to $58. Call 251-2222 or visit capitoltickets.com to order.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Estate Spotlight
SC HousingFinancing Housing. Building SC. To find out if you qualify or for more information visit schousing.com
CoMar Products Inc. Manufacturing quality surfaces for kitchens & baths since 1965. www.comarproducts.com