As an employee of a small business, I know the challenges we face. Our competitors generally have more money, more employees, and more connections. Therefore, I tend to look out for other small businesses and support them in my own small way. While in New York over Thanksgiving, I had the chance to do so by attending the new Broadway musical Memphis. Now, I know what you’re thinking: a Broadway musical is hardly a small business. However, hearing the story of Memphis might change your mind. Memphis took a 6-year journey to reach its current stage in the New York Theater District. Driven by the belief and drive of the cast and producers, it started at a theater in Massachusetts and took what the New York Times called the “old-fashioned way […] through four regional productions and some depressingly long lulls in between.”
The show went through many drafts and changes to get to the two acts seen on stage today, however, the actors remained a constant. Those in charge of the show about the love, music and cultural differences between a 1950s black singer and a white DJ, chose to stick with the original leads instead of booking celebrities like so many Broadway shows today. Sue Frost, one of the lead producers of the show, gives “a lot of the credit for our success so far to everyone who thought long and hard about what worked and didn’t work in ‘Memphis,’ especially Chad and Montego [the leads], who’ve been willing to do whatever we’ve thrown at them” (NY Times). The two leads also feel that the long trip to the big stage enabled them to know their characters fiercely and fight for what those characters would or would not do.
The passion and commitment of the cast, who I’m sure after 6 years feels more like family than coworkers, shine through and make Memphis the Musical an exceptional experience for the audience. It is clear in each actor’s face that he/she truly cares about sharing Memphis’ story, based on actual events. See this small business’ passion in this clip from a performance on The View.
(Header image from memphisthemusical.com)