Memphis is a 2009 musical focusing on the story of Memphis disc jockey Huey Calhoun and his love of "black music" in a segregated 1950's America. One night, after entering Delray's, an African-American underground rock n' roll bar, Huey strikes up an interesting relationship with the bar's singer, Felicia Farrell. They flirt and he promises to see her put on the radio one day. However, she is the sister of Delray, the owner of the bar.
Despite Huey's statement that he "never was taught to read none" and had never learned to write, he appears to be quite intuitive. At his job as a stock boy at a local mall, he strikes a deal with the owner and soon sells many albums in a matter of minutes. He is, however, fired for the African-American music he played in the store. He then proceeds to apply to many local, white radio stations. When Felicia learns this, she immediately forks out to make her own record for him to play on air. When she goes to show Huey, his mother breaks it, still set in racist ways.
Huey gets a job at a local station, impressing the owner by bringing both white and black teens closer together through their liking of the music he plays. Huey ends his first broadcast with "hockadoo" as a cry of triumph, yet not completely sure where he has gotten it from. It soon becomes his Catchphrase. He later gets Felicia to sing live in the station as a way of saying sorry for what his mother did to her record, and both her and Huey's popularity begins to grow.
Provides examples of:
- Arc Words/Catchphrase: "Hockadoo!"
- Bittersweet Ending: Felicia and Huey don't end up together, and only Felicia really is successful in her career attempts, technically speaking.
- Black Gal on White Guy Drama
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Huey.
- Crowd Song: Many! Some examples include "Underground", "Say a Prayer", "Steal Your Rock and Roll" and "Tear Down the House".
- Darker and Edgier: When compared to Hairspray, which was roughly around the same time.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Huey's situation at the end of the musical.
- Dysfunctional Family: Huey does not show much sympathy for the father that told him to stay away from the music he loves, and says that he only felt "pity" as they buried him. He also infuriates his mother with his relationship with Felicia, that is, until his mother visits a black church and sees the passion of the people there.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Big Love" can be interpreted on a few...levels.
- HA HA HA No: Felicia's response whenever Huey remarks that Del Ray likes Huey more than he lets on.
- HeelFaith Turn: A variation. Mama does consider herself a Christian at first. It is only until she opens herself to a Black Church does she embrace a truly tolerant and accepting Christianity.
- "I Am" Song: Huey's "Memphis Lives in Me" or "Crazy Little Huey" could both be counted as this, or "Colored Woman" for Felicia. Possibly also "Big Love" for Bobby.
- "I Want" Song: "Colored Woman" for Felicia again, as she vows not to live like her mother and spend her whole life "running".
- Love Hurts
- Mood Whiplash: If you watch the filmed stage show, the scenes of the somber "Say a Prayer" and the exuberant and silly "Crazy Little Huey" might cause this. It works better while watching in person, as that is where the Intermission is.
- Mr. Fanservice: Chad Kimball is a fan favourite, thus making Huey so. Oh, come on, it is a musical.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Del Ray to Huey. Not only because he dislikes Huey, but because of the setting; he's afraid for her safety. He even gets a song about it ("She's My Sister").
- Tragic Dream: Huey loves Memphis, and is set in his ways that he will never leave. However, Felicia picks up the offer of moving to New York to help her career, as she vowed early on not to become like her mother. This can be perceived as even more tragic as Huey seems to just want a normal, family life.