'Memphis' comes to Proctor's
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In 2010, it picked up four Tony Awards. It's the musical theatrical statement "Memphis." It's now on run at Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady. We caught up with Bryan Fenkart, who plays part-time DJ Huey. At this point, he's definitely a road performer.
Fenkart said, "This is our 22nd city I think, and it's going great so far. We don't know what to expect in some of the cities."
And when on a tour such as this, one stage performance isn't always the same as another.
Fenkart said, "And adjusting to new spaces and everything is always tricky because you're always a little more compact this way or a little more compact this way, so it varies."
While Memphis has much musical entertainment for the audience, it's also a sign of the times and the racial tone of the 1950s, becoming in its own way a statement on civil rights .
Fenkart said, "This guy trying to play black music on a station was a dangerous thing, and then getting involved with an African American singer, as a white DJ, that's illegal."
That's the tone of the story. Controversy breaks when a white DJ introduces black music to his radio station. But despite this turmoil, one of the key messages of the show is that music can bring us together.
Fenkart said, "The music, if it's good, it's good. It doesn't matter where it comes from, and I think that's something that can bring us together."
And Fenkart should know. He's a singer/songwriter himself, and even has a new CD coming out. You could say he was right in tune with this part.
He said, "I grew up listening to the Billy Joels, and the Bruce Springsteens, and the Paul Simons, the storytellers, and that's what I sort of fancy myself as I guess."
And if you fancy checking out the blend of American music and history, "Memphis" plays through Sunday at Proctor's.