On March 15, Nancy Opel, who has received a Tony Award nomination for Urinetown, will play the role of Mama in the show, Memphis. She will be acting with John Jellison who will take over the part of Mr. Simmons. The actors they are replacing, Michael McGrath and Cass Morgan, will leave the stage for the last time on March 13. Memphis, a four-time award winner, one of which was for Best Musical, will remain in production at the Shubert Theatre. Memphis is under the direction of Christopher Ashley.
In addition to her award winning performance in Urinetown, Opel has also been a member of the cast of Paradise Found, produced by the West End. She has been in the Broadway productions of Triumph of Love, Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes, Evita, and Sunday in the Park with George. Her Off-Broadway resume includes the productions of Mere Mortals, All in the Timing, The Toxic Avenger, and Polish Joke.
Jellison has appeared in a number of Broadway productions, some of which are Nick and Nora, Me and My Girl, Sunday in the Park With George, Titanic, Mastergate, Crazy For You, On the Town, The Capeman, Oklahoma!, All Shook Up, Putting it Together, Caroline or Change, and The Phantom of the Opera.
Memphis tells the story of DJ Huey Calhoun who is played by Chad Kimball, also a Tony Award nominee. Calhoun, a young, white man in the segregated south in the 1950s, falls head over heels for rock and roll and for an amazing black singer, played by Montego Glover, yet another Tony Award nominee. The score, which was written by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan has won a Tony, as has the book by DiPietro.