A glimpse of ‘Memphis’ and ‘100 Years of Magic’

‘Memphis’: Tremendous Performances

David Bryan (music and lyrics) and Joe DiPietro (lyrics and book) wrote “Memphis,” which loosely covers the life of Dewey Philips, a white disc jockey who made one of the first dents in black music in the 1950s. TheatreWorks in Mountain View originally staged the production and It opened on Broadway in October 2009 and won three Tony Awards including Best Musical at the 2010 presentations.

Director Christopher Ashley moves this bombastic production faster than sound and leaves audiences breathless with Sergio Trujillo’s wild, sensual choreography. Sets by David Gallo and costumes by Paul Tazewell dazzle. All are award winners.

An amazing and first-rate cast detonates its way into one of the best musicals produced.

Don’t miss this one. Just bring your seat belt, fasten it tightly and be ready to blast off and not touch ground for two and a half hours.

Disney on Ice celebrates ‘100 Years of Magic’

Grab the kids and get to the Disney on Ice presentation of “100 Years of Magic,” featuring more than 60 Disney characters from 18 beloved stories. It is delightful, educational and brimming with original choreography, glorious costumes and the mot special effects this side of “It’s a Small World.”

Scenic designer David Potts brings his Broadway know-how to this production, in which floats turn into radiant light parades, and a blanket of snow and an avalanche fall as Mulan battles the Huns. This production includes all the favorite Disney characters you can bundle in one evening without going into overdrive.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse (sporting a red sequined evening gown designed by Bob Mackie) host the event with vignettes from favorite Disney classics. Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, all the Disney princesses, Mulan, Timon, Pumba, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Nemo and the Incredibles are faithfully recreated.

If you happen not to recognize any of the players, just ask the kids. They will give you a detailed bio.

Choreographer Sarah Kawahara is a true artist who paints smooth, beautiful routines that are more than the usual ice show shtick. An Emmy winner for “Scott Hamilton: Upside Down,” her imaginative presentations keep the attention of 3-year-olds as well as the adults who come to enjoy a unique evening with the children.

The costumes by Scott Lane bring Mickey’s marching band and the Small World dolls freshness and colors that dazzle. Nemo’s costumes are created to float and give the appearance that we are underwater. More than 150 costumes appear in the extravaganza and each is true to the character in design and detail.

Music directors Art Kempel and Stan Beard, and lighting designer LeRoy Bennett bring the mood and feelings to intimate moments for those watching this extravaganza. (Not an easy feat.)

Aided by a talented cast, stunning lighting and reminiscent music, the whole production does exactly what it’s supposed to do: It gives off a glow of happiness and well being. We can all use a little of that right now.

Where: San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose
When: Oct. 23 through 28
Details: 408-792-4548 or visit broadwaysanjose.com.
Where: Oakland Oracle Arena
When: Oct. 17 through 21
Where: HP Pavilion, 299 N. Montgomery St., San Jose
When: Oct. 24 through 28
Details: 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com.

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