This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending performances of two different Broadway musicals. Friday night a friend and I saw The Addams Family at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk then I took my grand kids to see Memphis, the Musical which was presented at Ferguson Center at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. These are two very different presentations but I found a lot of similarities.
The Addams Family
The Addams Family spent over a year on Broadway. It had all the expected characters that we all remember from our childhoods: From Gomez and Morticia to Lurch, Pugsley and Uncle Fester, they are all present and accounted for. This is a story of young love. The daughter, Wednesday, falls in love with a “normal” boy. When the two families come together to meet each other, their differences become more apparent and arguments ensue until, of course, young love prevails. The show keeps so much of what we love about the original including the snappy theme song and the audience joins in with appropriate clap, claps.
Memphis, the Musical
We are transported back to the 1950’s and the birth of rock ‘n roll in Memphis, the Musical. This cast has more actual Broadway experience than that of The Addams Family and it showed. The talented cast was lead by Joey Elrose who plays Huey, a down on his luck guy who is obsessed with the sounds of rhythm and blues he hears coming from the black honky tonks. Jasmine Richardson plays the blues singer he falls in love with. Huey brings R&B to the staid local radio station where he works and we see the birth of rock ‘n roll. This is where the two musicals come together. Both have a pair of star crossed lovers who must overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles . In the former, they live happily ever after. In the latter, race issues tear them apart.