Memphis = Michael Bolton



Talk about the unkindest cut. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood just compared Memphis—the Broadway musical Memphis, that is—to Michael Bolton, the man who embodies soulless soulfulness. Ouch.

Sex and race and rock ’n’ roll made for a potent, at times inflammatory, combination in the 1950s, when the new musical “Memphis” is set. But there’s no need to fear that a conflagration will soon consume the Shubert Theater, where the show opened on Monday night. This slick but formulaic entertainment, written by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, barely generates enough heat to warp a vinyl record, despite the vigorous efforts of a talented, hard-charging cast. While the all-important music, by Mr. Bryan of Bon Jovi, competently simulates a wide range of period rock, gospel and rhythm and blues, the crucial ingredient — authentic soul — is missing in action. Dare I suggest that “Memphis” is the Michael Bolton of Broadway musicals? I do.

Oh well, at least he didn't compare it to Kenny G.

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