Award-winning musical comes to McCain Auditorium

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The Tony-winning and former Broadway musical, “Memphis,” was performed at McCain Auditorium Friday night to a packed house.

“I am always seeking shows of the highest artistic integrity to come to McCain,” Todd Holmberg, executive director of McCain, said. “Having won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2010, ‘Memphis’ was high on my list.”

Set in the 1950s, “Memphis” tells the story of Huey Calhoun, an unemployed and uneducated white man with a passion for rhythm and blues. Huey stumbles upon Felicia Farrell, an African-American soul singer in an underground blues club. Huey swears he will have Felicia’s song played on the radio in exchange for a kiss.

“‘Memphis’ is a professional touring show, sometimes appearing in a different city several nights a week,” Holmberg said.

He said believes it is important for outside productions to come to K-State to increase the quality of life on campus and in the community.

“My favorite part of ‘Memphis’ was when the audience got to see Mama [Huey’s mother] have a bit of a turnaround,” Emily Porter, freshman in journalism and mass communications, said. “She did not quite become accepting of Huey and Felicia’s relationship, but as a mother she realized that it was important to her son.”

This was the first production Porter attended at K-State, but she said she plans to return.

“I very much enjoyed the song and dance, obviously, but the costumes were very accurate to the time and also helped tell the story,” Porter said.

Melissa Feuerborn, freshman in biology, came to see “Memphis,” her first show at K-State, with her honors program mentor, Andrea.

“I was really pleasantly surprised with the production. I didn’t really know what to expect,” Feuerborn said. “They were really good. The singing was amazing. Their voices were so beautiful.”

Holmberg said he thinks live theater is important for K-State students and Manhattan residents.

“Live theater promotes creativity, innovation, and inspiration, all necessary ingredients for campuses and communities to thrive,” he said.

Holmberg takes his job of booking shows a McCain Auditorium very seriously.

“I identify artists and attractions that will enrich and engage the campus and community,” he said. “That vision is related to artists and attractions that have appeared in the past and also artists that I have in mind for the future.”

In what will surely delight Holmberg, Feuerborn said she sees a future for herself in the seats of McCain Auditorium.

“I definitely want to come back and do this again,” Feuerborn said.

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