Arts and Entertainment

Tony-winning best musical ‘Memphis’ heats up the stage March 27 at Eisenhower

The touring Broadway musical "Memphis" comes to University Park in a performance at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Eisenhower Auditorium. Credit: © Jeremy DanielAll Rights Reserved.

From the underground dance clubs of the 1950s comes “Memphis,” a Tony Award-winning best musical brimming with explosive dancing, irresistible songs and a thrilling tale of fame and forbidden love. The touring Broadway show comes to Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27.

The Associated Press called the show “the very essence of what a Broadway musical should be.”

Section one and two tickets for “Memphis” are $62 and $53 for an adult, $44 and $35 for a University Park student and $45 and $36 for a person 18 and under. Buy tickets online at or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 1-800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student ticket prices possible.

Inspired by actual events, “Memphis” concerns a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer ready for her big break. It’s a show filled with laughter, soaring emotion and roof-raising rock ’n’ roll, gospel and R&B.

“Memphis” won four 2010 Tony Awards, including best musical. The show also earned Tonys for original score and orchestrations by David Bryan, a founding member of Bon Jovi, and book by Joe DiPietro (“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”). Tony nominee Christopher Ashley (“Xanadu”) directs the musical, and Sergio Trujillo (“Jersey Boys”) provides the choreography. 

Keely Beirne, a 2013 bachelor of fine arts graduate of Penn State’s Musical Theatre program, is part of the “Memphis” ensemble and the understudy for the lead role of Felicia.

Audio description, especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra cost to ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a touring artist, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.

The Village at Penn State sponsors the presentation. Radio Station 95.3 3WZ is the media sponsor.

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Related exhibition:

The exhibition “Breaking Barriers Through Music: Albums from The Charles L. Blockson Collection of African Americana and the African Diaspora” is on display March 17 to June 30 in the Sidewater Commons, 102 Pattee Library, on the University Park campus.

While “Memphis” concerns themes such as interracial relations and segregation in the South in the 1950s, the University Libraries exhibition explores how music and other art forms have contributed to transcending segregation through integrated bands, poetry, songs, comedy and the determination of individual artists.

For more information about The Charles L. Blockson Collection of African Americana and the African Diaspora, go to or phone 814-865-7931. The collection, housed on the third floor of Pattee Library west, is administered by The Eberly Family Special Collections Library in 104 Paterno Library.

Last Updated March 03, 2014