If our(Ann and I’s) son Eric were not an actor, there would probably have been a small chance that Ann and I would’ve stepped out for a night to go and see the musical, “Memphis.” However, he is an actor and singer, a very good one at that, and he led a fabulous cast this past weekend at the Palace Theater in Waterbury doing that exact play, which was presented by his school, the Waterbury Arts Magnet School.
No offense to the other cast members but this blog is primarily centered around Eric- pictured above singing Memphis Lives in Me– because, as his father, I am proud as hell of him.
This past weekend, Ann and I saw him shine repeatedly playing one of the lead roles, Huey Calhoun, an illiterate, white disc-jockey who becomes one of the first to succeed in playing black music in 1950’s “Memphis.”
In each of the three shows that I saw, Eric played a demanding part with relative ease, showcasing his beautiful singing voice and his impressive acting.
The play was set in a very sensitive time in race-relations. Despite the difficult story line, the performances, which had a wide variety of dance and music, were done beautifully by this entire gifted cast.
I’d guess that Eric, Felicia( another lead character who was Huey’s African-American love interest who also had a beautiful voice) and the others were asked to use extreme maturity portraying their respective characters and each one of them did just that, literally molding themselves into the characters that each student played.
After seeing the last performance this past Sunday, I thought to myself that “Memphis” was the best show Eric had ever been a part of, seriously, and, for me at least, the most emotionally draining play-among the many parts that he has played through the years- that I had ever watched. I don’t know if that was because of the story-line or the emotional tones in many of the songs being sung but I’m not ashamed to say that I was brought to tears a couple of times.
Since January, Eric jumped into playing Huey full-steam and didn’t stop until he’d taken his last bow after Sunday afternoons’ show. As he was learning his part at numerous weekly rehearsals, Eric kept his grades up, excelling both on and off the stage.
Finally, I would like to finish this blog by once again congratulating director Nina Smith and the entire cast on doing an equally impressive job in every single one of their performances. Well done guys! Hockadoo!