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Love crosses 1950s race lines in Broadway musical ‘Memphis’ at Columbus’ Ohio Theatre

Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Tony-award winning Broadway musical “Memphis” is pulling into Columbus and pushing race relations in the 1950s onto the stage.

“Memphis,” is scheduled to run at the Ohio Theatre from Tuesday to Sunday.

The musical, which is set in the segregated 1950s, is about a young white DJ who is exploring the new rock ‘n’ roll scene and falls in love with a young black singer.

In addition to multiple Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Awards, “Memphis” took home four Tony awards in 2010, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Orchestration.

Rhett George, national tour cast member who plays Gator, a bartender and the mute black friend of main characters Huey Calhoun and Felicia Farrell, said the musical showcases talent in several ways.

“I think that ‘Memphis’ is the epitome of a true Broadway show,” George said. “It’s a triple-threat on stage, great dancing, great singing and great acting.”

George said he thinks Broadway enthusiasts and newcomers alike will enjoy “Memphis.”

“I think this is an excellent start for people who have never seen a Broadway show or know nothing about theater or musicals,” George said. “Just for the mere fact that people have come up to me after a show and tell me they’ve never seen a musical before, or that this is the best musical they have ever seen.”

Some students at OSU said they appreciate that “Memphis” is available for them to see, but are not sure the show will interest them.

“It’s cool that the show is right downtown, but I don’t know if I’ll like it,” said Valerie Ziminski, a second-year in economics. “I’ll look into it, because tickets aren’t too expensive. Maybe I’ll go.”

Other Ohio State students said they enjoyed previously seeing the show.

Sarah Mohre, a second-year in English, saw “Memphis” in New York City, and said she thinks other OSU students should take advantage of the chance to see it.

“The show was exciting, and I feel like anyone would like it,” Mohre said. “Students should go out and see it just because they might not get the chance to get to New York (City).”

George said he expects “Memphis” to have something for everyone, no matter their age or musical background.

“It could start from teenagers and up, and I think everyone will enjoy ‘Memphis,’ because simply there is something in it for everyone,” George said.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. On Sunday, the show will begin at 6:30 p.m. There are also matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.

Not including additional fees, tickets range from $28 to $78 on Ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets and the Ohio Theatre Ticket Office at 39 E. State St.

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