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Memphis - Beverley Knight stars

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BEVERLEY Knight, currently playing Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard, will star in the West End premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis, which opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre on October 23, 2014, following preview performances from October 9.

Based on a concept by George W. George, Memphis has a book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, and music and lyrics by Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan.

As its name suggests, Memphis is set in the Tennessee city where rock and roll was born and tells the fictional story of DJ Huey Calhoun, a local boy with a passion for R&B music, and Felicia Farrell, an up-and-coming black singer that he meets one fateful night on Beale Street.

Despite the objections of their families – Huey’s close-minded mother and Felicia’s cautious brother, a club owner – they embark on a dangerous affair. As their careers rise, the relationship is challenged by personal ambition and the pressures of an outside world unable to accept their love.

In 2010, Memphis won four Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters).

Queen of British Soul Beverley Knight is a singer, songwriter and record producer who has been one of the UK’s most consistent artists since the release of her debut album in 1995. To date, she has won three MOBO Awards, an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Urban Music Awards, been three times nominated for Best Female at the Brit Awards and twice nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize.

Knight has presented four series of Radio 2 show Beverley’s Gospel Nights and appeared in two series of hit BBC1 show Just The Two Of Us as well as appearing on stage with the likes of Prince, Stevie Wonder and Take That. Last summer, she wowed a viewing audience of one billion with a rendition of the song I Am What I Am at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Knight, who in 2007 was awarded an MBE for her services to music and charity, made her West End musical theatre debut in September 2013 when she took over the role of Rachel Marron from Heather Headley in The Bodyguard.

From Here To Eternity continues at the Shaftesbury Theatre until March 29, 2014. It will be followed – from May 2 to September 13, 2014 – by Richard Eyre’s production of the Broadway classic The Pajama Game.