Memphis, the musical: economic impact of more than $10M

The numbers are in – 26,740 patrons attended the musical “Memphis” at The Orpheum Theatre during its 13-show run that started Oct. 14 and wrapped Oct. 23. According to the Orpheum, the show also had an estimated economic impact of more than $10 million that included ticket sales and purchases by theatre patrons, in addition to the more than 700 cast members and the crew, producers and investors who called Memphis home during the weeks leading up to the debut.

The show is currently slated for an 81-week tour that includes stops in Canada, Japan and London. The Orpheum has scheduled a return of the musical in 2013.

Orpheum president and CEO Pat Halloran described the production – the first international Broadway tour to launch from Memphis – as a “significant event in the life of our city.”

ArtsMemphis, with Regions Bank and Pickler Wealth Advisors, sponsored the musical’s engagement at the Orpheum.

“It’s not every day that a Tony Award winner, bearing the name of your city, launches an international tour from your city,” Halloran said.

Memphis Unemployment Rate Rose in Sept.

The unemployment rate for the city of Memphis rose to 11.7 percent in September, according to preliminary figures released by the state department of labor and workforce development Thursday.

That jobless rate is a full percentage point about the 10.7 percent rate for Memphis in September 2010, and it’s slightly above the 11.4 percent rate for the previous month of August.

More on Strut Memphis

Longtime Fox 13 News anchor Mearl Purvis is one of nine local celebrities who will be slinging cocktails for party-goers tonight (October 27) at Strut Memphis, a benefit for the Community Legal Center, a nonprofit that provides pro bono legal services for the city’s working poor.

When asked why she decided to leave her seat at the anchor desk to pour drinks behind the bar for the evening, Purvis said, “”Almost every day during our newscast, it pops up – a story about crooks who scam innocent people. Today, a report surfaced about a 95-year-old lady whose identity was stolen. That senior citizen may end up having to hire an attorney to get the mess straightened out. If she is living on a fixed income and above the poverty level, but can’t afford an attorney, the Community Legal Center is her best chance for relief. When I think about a predicament like that for a senior citizen, getting a little bubbly wasted on my skirt to help out is a no brainer.”

Harold Ford. Jr. on “Occupy” movement

Former Memphis congressman Harold Ford Jr. was on “Meet the Press” Sunday for an appearance during which he tried to give President Obama some economic advice.

He also seemed to suggest that Obama and the rest of the Democratic party needed to “look beyond” the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Said Ford: “We Democrats can’t criticize Republicans for catering to the tea party and not be–and not say to our Democratic Party you’ve got to look beyond Occupy and be willing to do what’s in the best interest of the country.”

Ford is the former U.S. Rep. for the Ninth Congressional District. He’s currently a Bank of America Merrill Lynch executive.

Via thinkprogress.org –

On New Photos of Old Times

 

For a while now, Joe Spake has been going through a considerable cache of photographs he took in the mid 1970s and posting them on Facebook.

And they are an interesting look at a city in the making – not that Memphis wasn’t in the act of becoming before and after these pictures were taken. Hopefully, Memphis will never be completed.

Most of you know Joe these days as a Realtor.

But some of his photos from 1974 are from a different part of his life when he was part of a community radio station at what was then Southwestern at Memphis and is now Rhodes College.

The radio station was WLYX FM 89. And it was run 24/7 by volunteers who did four hour air shifts.

When Joe began posting these pictures, I was more than a little interested since I too was at the radio station for the first seven years of my 22 years doing radio news. These pictures are about a year before I showed up at the top of the gymnasium at Southwestern where the radio station was located and accessible only by climbing a lot of stairs. That was after someone at the top threw down a set of keys so you could unlock one of the front doors to the gym to come up after hitting a buzzer by the door to alert the person upstairs.

Over that many years, some memories begin to fade.

Such is the case with a picture that has stumped many of us who were there – or in my case, just about there. It’s become a real source of fascination. It shows someone being interviewed, probably a musician with a gig and a record deal. But none of us can place the face.

UPDATE: Go to the comments below to see Joe’s link to the mystery photo and a link to his other photos. In the mystery photo, we know who the guys to the left and center are — Dave Weil and Gil Rossner, who also worked at WLYX. It’s the figure to the right that is the mystery.

Some think there is a resemblance to a young Steven Tyler. Others think it is someone from Mott the Hoople. And still others think it is someone who had a record deal and put out a record but may have never been heard from again after a brief splash of touring.

All three are possible. Because the radio station was non-commercial it didn’t have the playlist that is still the core of organization at any commercial radio station that plays music. And we had a hellacious record collection that took up two rooms and covered every kind of jazz, bluegrass, rock, rock and roll, fusion, reggae and classical music you could think of. We had the old stuff and the new stuff.

One of the few rules was don’t play the hits that everybody else was playing.

As a result, there were a lot of up and coming musicians who came through the doors as they made their way across the country.

Joe has another picture in his collection of Frank Zappa doing a newscast.

John Prine bummed a dime off me for a grape soda a few weeks before he turned up on Saturday Night Live.

Supertramp had the run of the place before they played the old Auditorium. The show got moved to the smallest hall in the Auditorium and the opener, Crack The Sky, was the better known of the two acts.

Black Sabbath had an eventful trip up the stairs. All four band members, including Ozzy Osbourne, showed up on time and ready to talk except the drummer, Bill Ward, who fell down the stairs on his way up. For a few very anxious seconds in which his hosts wondered if they had killed the drummer for Black Sabbath, Ward didn’t move but then dusted himself off and caught up with the rest.

Shortly after catching the movie Slaughterhouse Five on the late show on television, I was amazed one day to see the daughter from the movie being interviewed. Holly Near, the actress, was the kind of singer-songwriter who was right up the radio station’s very broad and eclectic alley in those pre-MTV days.

One late night while looking in the older records I came across the Big Star album and wondered why I had never heard of them. The band had done what turned out to be its final gig in our studios maybe a few months before I got there. The bootleg is still floating around on the Internet.

There are lots more stories that should and shouldn’t be told. Some fall into both categories.

It’s funny how microphones, obsolete equipment and sound tiles can translate into blurry memories that may or may not be the way it was, but it’s the way you remember it even if you don’t remember all of the faces.

Dansette

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