You gotta admire some people's optimism. Despite the fact that the only musicals that are staying open on Broadway right now seem to be the pre-branded hits and long-running blockbusters (and some of them are even struggling along themselves), there are still intrepid souls who dare to risk the move to Broadway.
Witness the long-aborning musical Memphis, which recently announced a planned move to Broadway in the fall of 2009 at a theater TBA. The show has had numerous tryout runs, including a world-premiere engagement at the North Shore Music Theater and most recently a run at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater. Apparently the latter engagement went so well that the producers feel confident in shepherding the show to New York, despite an admittedly chilly economic climate. (Heck, there are recent weeks when even Wicked and Jersey Boys aren't selling out.)
Memphis sports a book by Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, All Shook Up). Thankfully, this is not a jukebox music, but rather one with an original score by Bon Jovi's David Bryan. DiPietro and Bryan share duty on the lyrics. The pair are also collaborating on the new musical version of The Toxic Avenger, which opens Off Broadway next month.
Director Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) will repeat their roles for the show's Broadway bow. Casting has yet to be announced, but recent versions of the show have starred Chad Kimball (Into the Woods, Lennon, Good Vibrations) and Montego Glover (The Color Purple).
Subtitled "The Birth of Rock and Roll," Memphis tells the fictionalized story of a young, white radio disc jockey growing up in Memphis in the '50s. He becomes an on-air champion of African-American music, and falls in love with a black female singer, with "dramatic consequences," according to press material. That certainly sounds a lot more interesting that the show's title, but then the similarly named Chicago certainly seems to have done well for itself.