*For those who can’t get to Broadway for the Tony Award-winning rock musical Memphis, PBS is bringing the production to you through a Feb. 24, 2012 airing of its “Great Performances” series.
Filmed live at the Shubert Theatre with the original Broadway cast, including Tony nominees Chad Kimball and Montego Glover, Memphis has a Tony-winning score by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro.
Anna Deavere Smith in Let Me Down Easy
Upcoming “Great Performances” airings include Anna Deavere Smith’s solo play about the U.S. healthcare system and the resilience of the human body, Let Me Down Easy (Jan. 13, 2012); as well as “Tony Bennett: Duets,” featuring Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, k.d. lang, Queen Latifah, Carrie Underwood and more (Jan. 27, 2012).
View clips from Memphis and “Let Me Down Easy” below:
*Want to star in your own videos and share them with the world? Well, you can do that now and have fun doing it. As part of Disney Parks new campaign called “Let The Memories Begin,” visitors to any of the Disney Parks can upload their videos and photos to Disney. And don’t be surprised if they show up in TV ads, print ads and online ads.
When the campaign was unveiled in New York at Espace, actress/singer Montego Glover sang its theme song. Glover has history with Disney Parks as she was the lead singer in the Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s animal kingdom before making her Broadway debut in “The Color Purple.” She went on to receive a Tony nomination this year for originating the role of Felicia Farrell in the musical “Memphis.”
Before transfixing the audience with her beautiful delivery of “Let the Memories Begin,” she let it be known how happy she was renew her ties with Disney. “I have such a marvelous job,” she enthused. “My day job starring in a Broadway musical that is such a hit and so wonderfully received by audiences is [kismet]. I have to tell you, I look out from the stage in our closing number every night and I see the absolute joy and magic in our audiences’ faces. I have to think that that seed was planted at Disney because I did that everyday, entertaining thousands, and thousands and thousands of guests and seeing the exact same expressions; that sense of joy that pure excitement and enthusiasm and it really thrilled me.”
The event was hosted by TV personality Tom Bergeron who also introduced Award-winning actor and best-selling author Michael J. Fox. He shared his favorite “memories” at Disney Parks and some banter between himself and Bengeron after which Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs announced the idea behind “Let the Memories Begin.” “Disney guests will begin starring on television as part of the new ‘Let the Memories Begin’ campaign. For the first time, Disney Parks is featuring the home videos and snapshots of real guests in television ads and other marketing that will allow an audience of millions to share in true-life, heartfelt moments.
“A Disney vacation is the perfect way to create family memories that will last a lifetime,” Staggs says. “We’ll spotlight those ‘only-at-Disney’ moments with family and friends during our ‘Let the Memories Begin’ campaign.”
Other plans were also outlined that included new 2011 theme parks in California and Florida, a new cruise line, “World of Color,” “The Little Mermaid—Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, New Star Tours 3-D Adventure, Aulani (a Disney Resort and Spa, Ko Olina Hawaii) and Adventures by Disney, where guests will step off of planes, cruise ships and camels into living chapters of history during seven-and nine-night Egypt themed trips.
*The Broadway productions Fences and Memphis racked up wins at the 55th Annual Drama Desk Awards, held May 23 at the LaGuardia Concert Hall at Lincoln Center.
Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, tied with A View from the Bridge for Outstanding Revival of a Play, while Davis earned the award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. Also, composer Branford Marsalis earned for Outstanding Music in a Play.
Memphis earned four top honors: Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Music (David Bryan), Outstanding Orchestrations (Bryan and Daryl Waters) and Outstanding Actress in a Musical for star Montego Glover, who tied with Catherine Zeta-Jones of A Little Night Music.
Presenters for the evening included Edward Albee, Corbin Bleu, Michael Cerveris, Boyd Gaines, Ana Gasteyer, Mitzi Gaynor, Cheyenne Jackson, Leslie Jordan, Jesse L. Martin, Matthew Modine, Martha Plimpton and Brooke Shields.
The Drama Desk is an organization of theatre critics, writers and editors that honors excellence in all areas of New York theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway and not-for-profit.
“Fences” has only been open a week, and already its stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis have received Tony nominations Tuesday for their leading roles, two of ten announced Tuesday for the August Wilson play.
“Fela!” nominated for best musical, tied with “La Cage aux Folles” for a leading 11 nominations, while actress Lillias White and choreographer Bill T. Jones also earned nods for the musical about pioneering Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti. [See clip below.]
“Fela!” will face off in the best musical category with “Memphis,” which is loosely based on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. Montego Glover of “Memphis” was nominated for best actress in a musical [See her perfomance of "Colored Woman" below.] and will face off against Catherine Zeta-Jones (“A Little Night Music”), Kate Baldwin,(“Finian’s Rainbow”), Sherie Rene Scott (“Everyday Rapture”) and Christiane Noll (“Ragtime”).
David Alan Grier of David Mamet’s “Race” and Stephen McKinley Henderson of “Fences” will compete for the featured actor in a play, joining Jon Michael Hill (“Superior Donuts”), Stephen Kunken (“Enron”) and Eddie Redmayne (“Red”) in the category.
Washington’s best actor category is filled with fellow superstars of the big screen: Jude Law for “Hamlet”; Alfred Molina, “Red”; Liev Schreiber, “A View From the Bridge”; and Christopher Walken, “A Behanding in Spokane.”
Davis, meanwhile, will face TV legends Valerie Harper (“Looped”), Linda Lavin (“Collected Stories”), as well as film star Laura Linney (“Time Stands Still”) and Jan Maxwell (“The Royal Family”) for best actress.
Winners will be announced June 13 during a ceremony televised by CBS from Radio City Music Hall.
Below: Tony nominee Montego Glover of “Memphis” sings “Colored Woman”; and a scene from “Fela!”