Monday, April 25, 2011

"Cousin Brucie" on Broadway

From Jim Beckerman,
"Cousin Brucie" Morrow, one of the legendary radio hosts of rock-and-roll's early days, has been around.

In 1965, he was at Shea Stadium, introducing The Beatles. In 1987, he was sawing Jennifer Grey in half, as a borscht belt magician in the movie "Dirty Dancing."

One place you would not have run into him was on the airwaves of Memphis, Tenn., in 1951. But thanks to a slight tweaking of history, that's where he'll be May 3-8, when he makes a guest appearance in the Tony-winning Broadway musical "Memphis."

"I play the white disc jockey, but they rewrote it so this white disc jockey is Cousin Brucie," he says. "Isn't it amazing what poetic license can do?"

"Memphis" begins with a quick tour of the radio dial, circa 1951 – the "white" stations at the center of the dial, the "black" stations ghettoized to one side. Morrow, 75, does not play the deejay hero — loosely based on Dewey Phillips, the Memphis on-air personality who daringly integrated the two races on radio. Instead, he'll play the mainstream deejay at the beginning of the show, whose Lawrence Welk world is about to be turned upside-down by rock-and-roll.
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