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‘Memphis’ Makes Rock and Roll History Sept. 8 to 17 in Kick-Off to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Season


An on-camera kiss between Felicia (Tamika Reed) and Huey (Matt Coakley) will have major repercussions for both. Photo by Robert Terrano Photography.

Huey's mother, Gladys, throws Felicia's newly recorded song to the ground. From left are Maureen Hackett as Gladys, Matt Coakley as Huey, and Tamika Reed as Felicia. Photo by Robert Terrano Photography.

As tensions rise, Huey (Matt Coakley), right, seeks help from Bobby (Robert Harris), left, and Gator (Jerome Arthur). Photo by Robert Terrano Photography.

West Windsor, N.J. – The curtain goes up on a new season at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre with “Memphis.” Presented by PinnWorth Productions, this hit Broadway musical offers up a dramatized account of the roots of rock and roll and radio’s role in embracing the new sounds that transformed the country. Dates and show times are: Fridays, Sept. 8 and 15 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sept. 9 and 16 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Sept. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Sept. 8.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2010, “Memphis” is based on a book by Joe DiPietro and a lively musical score of David Bryan, a founding member of Bon Jovi. The plot is loosely based on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. Elements of boy-meets-girl simplicity are set against the complex backdrop of American music history and the strict segregation laws of the South at that time. The show’s hero is Huey Calhoun, a poor white guy who charms his way into one of Memphis’s rhythm and blues clubs. There he falls in love with the intoxicating music – and a young, talented black singer named Felicia. He manages to get a time slot as a DJ on one of Memphis’s popular radio stations and substitutes R&B music for mainstream singers like Patti Page and Perry Como. The results are immediate and harsh, forcing Huey and Felicia to make tough decisions related to the music and their hearts.

The show stars Matt Coakley of Gillette as Huey; Tamika Reed of Lawrenceville as Felicia; Maureen Hackett of Robbinsville as Gladys; Kyrus Keenan Westcott of Levittown, Pa., as Delray; Robert Harris of Philadelphia, Pa., as Bobby; Jerome Arthur of Somerset as John Gator; and Jeff Dworkin of Langhorne, Pa., as Simmons.

Ensemble members include Olivia Andrews of Levittown, Pa., Madeline Taska Carleton of Titusville, Ashley DiStefano of Hamilton, Tiara Greene of Cherry Hill, Simon Hamilton of Princeton, Patricia Kelly of Bordentown, Tom Kelly of Bordentown, Evan Krug of Edison, Solomon A. Mason of Trenton, Crystal Mills of Hightstown, Emily O'Sullivan of Hamilton, Taylor Pickett-Stokes of Trenton, Alexys Pulsinelli of Bordentown, Jason Rodriguez of Hamilton, De Haven Rogers of Ewing, Andrew Santiago of Colonia, Liam Smith of Yardley, Pa., Patricia Toler of Lawrenceville, Tonya Treadwell of Ewing, Darrell Watts of Ewing, Zoey Aliah Woody of North Brunswick, and David Walter of Lawrenceville.

The show is co-produced by LouJ Stalsworth and Kate Pinner, and directed by Stalsworth, with co-director Kyrus Keenan Westcott. Music direction is by François Suhr; choreography is by Robert Harris; and costumes are by Kate Pinner. Robert Terrano is the sound and light designer, and Dennis Tolentino is stage manager. Set design is by Bryan Schendlinger; set construction is by Jim Petro; and properties are coordinated by Nancy Russell Scharf.

Tickets are $20 for all and may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. Subscription packages offering significantly reduced ticket prices are still available for the 2017-18 season. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.

2017-18 Kelsey Schedule
Kelsey Theatre Website
Audition Information
Theatre Workshops for Children and Teens

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