"Memphis: The Musical" kicks off national tour in namesake city

(WMC-TV) – The Tony Award winning "Memphis: The Musical" kicked off a national tour in the Bluff City Friday.

Around 2,000 people filled the Orpheum Theatre Friday night.  Many said they were proud to be a part of this big event for Memphis.

"This is just big for Memphis," said Orpheum president Pat Halloran.  "It's about our city, it's about Beale Street.  The Orpheum is mentioned."

The musical is loosely based on Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips, who was the first to play music created by African American artists in the 1950s.

"It's an exciting thing to be a part of," said Memphis resident Linda Bickers.

Before coming to its namesake city, the production has celebrated a two-year run on Broadway, and won a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2010.

The large as life celebration of the city's diversity brought out many residents to the first Memphis performance.

"It's Memphis, and it's a production as diverse as Memphis is and it represents who we are," said Memphis resident Madeleine Taylor.

"I bought the tickets about a month ago," said Memphis resident Kirk Collier.  "I couldn't get down, but we still got pretty good seats."

"I hope Memphis gets a lot of publicity for it being here," said Memphis resident Linda Bickers.  "We are very proud of Memphis."

Once the musical wraps up its 13 performances in Memphis, the tour will continue in 71 US cities and then head across Europe and Asia.

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