MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Friday is opening night of "Selma: The Musical" at Midtown's Hattiloo Theatre.
The show that hasn't been performed since the 1970s, and Hattiloo's founder believes now is the perfect time to bring it back to the stage.
The cast considers it a story for the soul.
Actress Lydia Jones said "Selma: A Musical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." is about more than just reliving history.
"You know, I have a 10-year-old son," Jones said. "He may have heard of MLK, but now he's going to see it from a different perspective, and I think that just brings out the color of greatness with this whole story."
Jones and a cast of more than a dozen actors and musicians capture pivotal moments of the Civil Rights era through song and dance.
Ekundayo Bandele, founder of Hattiloo Theatre, specifically sought out the rights to "Selma: The Musical" in reverence to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King.
"It just felt right to join in on the conversation," Bandele said. "When you come here to Hattiloo, and you sit down in Selma, and the house lights go down, and the theatre lights come up, and the actors come out in their costumes and the set pieces start to move--you're on that journey with them. And so you're not a spectator, you are a participant. And I think that's what makes this so special."
Written in 1976 in honor of Dr. King's bravery, Jonathan Mosely, the actor portraying Dr. King, said "Selma's" message still resonates in 2018.
"Just being a black man alive today, a lot of the things that we're going through in the play reflects what's going on in society now," Mosely said.
"When we look at moments like Selma and the march across the bridge, we don't really think about the people," Bandele said. "We see Abernathy and King Jr. and all those people locked arms and they're coming across and making change, but what lead up to that? That's the story."
"Selma: The Musical" runs through March 18 on the Hattiloo Theatre's main stage.
Tickets are available on their website or at the box office.