Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bon Jovi's David Bryan Shares his Journey with Memphis

Musician David Bryan has been the keyboard player with the rock group Bon Jovi for more than 25 years. He’s also the composer behind the Tony Award®-winning musical Memphis, which his band mates have seen and love. Bryan said he was influenced by the “joy and hope” in the songs of the 1950s when writing the score for Memphis. See what he had to say about creating the fantastical story of Memphis.

Bon Jovi keyboard player David Bryan also is the composer of the
Tony® Award-winning musical, Memphis.

Question: What attracted you to write the musical, Memphis?
Answer: The story. It’s an epic American tale about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, I just love that we not only portray one of the first white DJs to integrate the radio, but we also dramatize an interracial love story (when it was against the law in many states to have an interracial marriage). Ultimately, it’s a story about how music helped bring social change, and how this music helped bring people together.

Q: During all the years it took for Memphis to get to Broadway, what compelled you to continue the process?
A: It’s not a sprint, but a marathon! Every time we did a production, we worked on the show and we learned where it was and where we had to take it. A musical is very complicated. You have to create story, songs and dance, and they all have to work together. The fine tuning process happens in front of an audience and that takes many, many hours to get right. But it was easy to persist, because I always believed that Memphis is a show that entertains and tells an important American story.

Q: How is writing songs for a rock band different than writing songs for a Broadway musical?
A: In a rock band, you’re just writing for the voice of the lead singer. In a musical, you have many different characters you have to make sing. Still ultimately, a good song is a good song.

Q: Who were your influences in writing the rock score for Memphis?
A: I grew up in clubs with bands that played those Memphis-influenced songs, so it was in my blood. It was a very special time in music.

Q: You have won many honors as a rock musician, including winning a Grammy Award. How was the Tony Awards presentation different than the Grammy Awards?
A: The three Tony Awards I won is unbelievably special. It was a long road with Memphis, but I always believed in our show. To be honored and welcomed by the Broadway community for my work feels great. And it is just the start. Joe and I have a new show in the works called, The song (about American songwriters from 1962-64). We’ll continue to create new works for a long time.

Q: Why do you think fans of rock ‘n’ roll, people who might have never even seen a Broadway musical, would love Memphis?
A: It’s an important American story that celebrates what we have in common as human beings rather than what separates us. And it ROCKS!

You won’t want to miss Memphis Oct. 15-20. Tickets start at $50. For more information, visit foxcitiespac.com.

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