Wednesday, December 2, 2009

CSIHSIS Heads to Memphis!


Today, thanks to the IMPACT BROADWAY (http://www.impactbroadway.com/) grant that we are fortunate to be a part of, 36 students experienced the musical Memphis, met with the cast for a question and answer session, and dined at Planet Hollywood along with students from other high schools representing their boroughs.

Memphis is musical about the birth of rock & roll in the turbulent 1950s. The show features music and lyrics by David Bryan, a founding member of the rock band Bon Jovi,. Featuring an original score that mixes gospel, rhythm & blues, and early rock ‘n’ roll stylings with a contemporary sensibility, Memphis follows the fictionalized life story of Huey Calhoon, a young, white radio disc jockey growing up in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1950’s. Fueled by the music he hears in the black bars on Beale Street, Huey’s on-air antics and unstoppable enthusiasm for “race records” creates a new white audience for African-American music. Then he falls in love with a beautiful black singer, and his personal life transcends the race line, too, with grave consequences.

Memphis received rave reviews from our students and the teacher and parent chaperons, who totally enjoyed the fabulous singing, the lyrics and music, the dancing, and the great story line as they learned a little about the history of music in our country as well as about race relations, the dangers of prejudice and racism, and, more importantly about acceptance! Read on to hear what we have to share about our experience, to see what we learned about this time in history, and to learn about how experiencing Broadway has impacted us!

10 comments:

Radwa Ahmed said...

Memphis was a very intriguing play. The music that was played brought live and upbringing feelings to the crowd. You can actually feel how people lived in the 1950's and you see how a certain race was discriminated because of their color. The message that was being presented was to be opening minded about different ideas and to be courteous even though no one is taking your side. You can see how Huey's character develops through the plot and he doesn't let anyone get in his way. This play is very helpful because I learned about the roots of rock n'roll and about the blues. Also, how African Americans weren't allowed to have their music played on the radio station. You saw the frustration that went on during the 1950's and how black women didn’t have many chances in life. However, Huey work tirelessly to show people what kind of music this group brings and how it can change our perspective about different race groups.

Aimee Horowitz said...

So I am just wondering, since the time African Americans have been able to broadcast their music on the radio, how do you think that music has influenced music today and the music you listen to?

[ SHiVANNA dUNCAN ] said...

Memphis was a great play to see on broadway. It showed how African Americans didn't have as many rights as white folks in the South, but that didn't keep them from chasing what they wanted or their dreams. In addition, I also felt that it showed how whites and black are the same and the color of your skin is just merely a color. For example, now and then all white and black folks want is a good life with many oppurtunities. Not only for them, but their kids and the family they wish to establish. My favorite part of the play would have to be the music. The music was so up beat and kept you in your seat and awake.I can't wait to see our next broadway show.I hope that next year if we continue with Impact Broadway that a larger number of students are able to be apart of it.

victoria manzo said...

Memphis was the 2nd play I attended thanks to the "Impact Broadway" program. I love broadway plays and if I could i would see one every week. Going on these trips has been an experience of a lifetime. To see the fantastic shows, eat at planet hollywood and enjoy the lights, hustle and bustle of the city with your friends is not something I am likely to ever forget! Memphis brought to my knowledge a whole new visual perspective to the introduction of rock music and how colored people, despite racism, brought about this phenomenal era. talking to the actors is not only something I'm doing for the CSI Insider but also for myself. My ultimate dream is to accomplish what they have accomplished, and withe the opportunity of this program I get to hear first hand just how the performers accomplished this goal. thanks to all the phenomenal teacher both chaperoning and the teachers who presented us with this opportunity. I hope that in the future many more theatrical trips will present themselves. To experience the theater is to experience a whole different, unique, expressive, joyful world! Cant wait until the next trip! =D

Donna said...

CSI rocks! I was particularly interested in the issue of "race music" being unChristian in the play and that there was a direct connection between "bad" and Black music. Absolutely fascinating - Have things changed? What's going on now with "Black music" Has hip hop turned things around? What do you think?

Donna said...

CSI rocks! I was particularly interested in the issue of "race music" being unChristian in the play and that there was a direct connection between "bad" and Black music. Absolutely fascinating - Have things changed? What's going on now with "Black music" Has hip hop turned things around? What do you think?

Isaiah said...

I thought memphis was extremely captivating and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Being african american I can kinda relate to the play because my grandmother who was born and raised in the south told me stories of what happened in the play. I think its intresting that black people's blues music created rock and roll but current day rock and roll is popular with white kids and over time black people have shifted to rap and hip-hop. In today's world black kids listening to rock are chastized by other black kids becuase of the stereotype that all black kids should listen to rap and hip-hop.

Briana Kohm said...

The play Memphis is truely an amazing broadway show. Not only does the music and danceing uplift you but it tells a story that is sure to touch all. In 1950 the world was stuck in a world were everyone seen color. When a white man comes into a black night club you would think all hell would brake loose but in the case of the play it started a bond that would last a life time. This shows that some people were trying so hard to get rid of racial issues and move on in the world. The young white man goes on a journey to help the own and his sister of the black nightclub become well known. YEt along the way they are criticzed, beat, and even threatened. The reason the play touched me was because everyone in the US has always fought to get were they are today. Blacks fought to defeat segregation and although many were against it there were a few whites that felt equality was right. Thats what this play portrays the life and hardships of blacks and those who tried to help them.
Since the day music was established by blacks till today music has defanitly changed. Music that was rhythem and blues, or soul has changed to music talking about sex, drugs, and killing people. No not all music has come to be that way but the majoraty of what teenage students listen to is pretty voulger. Yet, most of the beats and rhythems we hear in music was originated from that of "race music".

Bryce Cammarata Riceman649 said...

Memphis was a play I would love to go back and see again. The play had caught my eye of interest because it was about music and history. When the play started it started with music. Thats when i had started getting interested. the play had shown differnt types of music and other peoples views on it from a while ago. i would love to go back and see the play agin.

Briana Cotugno said...

Memphis was an amazing play it kept me into everything with all the exciting music and dancing. The actors and actresses were great as well, they really knew how to bring everything to life and show you how the 50s really were. I felt like I was apart of everything that was going on. The play shows you how hard things were for blacks and how most of them weren't often offered any opportunities in life. It's also great to know that not all people were discriminative of other races. People like Huey were sent into the world to make a difference, to show people that just because your not the same color doesn't mean your not a person, and it's ok to listen to the music sung by other races. Listening and learning about music from other cultures is all apart of living there's no time to hate because of some ones race or religion. Memphis is definitely the play to see its very entertaining. Not only was the play exciting but the fact that your in the city seeing a broadway play was just as great. Besides its not like everyday you have an opportunity to go to the city and hang out with your friends. It was all just amazing.