Memphis is heading to movie theaters nationwide, but not exactly as a movie adaptation. Instead the successful Broadway show will be beamed into theaters, a distribution strategy that has worked well for New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

The show, which opened in 2009, has won four Tonys, including best musical, book (by Joe DiPietro), original score (by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and DiPietro), and orchestrations.

Broadway Worldwide, which acquires and distributes electronic rights to Broadway shows, will film performances of “Memphis” from January 18 through 21 at the Shubert Theater, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
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Emmy-winning director Don Roy King will lead the production team and will have five high-definition cameras and 96 tracks of sound to work with.

The long-running Broadway hit Rent was filmed for theatrical release, and Legally Blonde: The Musical was broadcast on MTV during its New York run.

The decision to make Memphis available in theaters is designed to create brand awareness ahead of the Tony-winning show’s national tour, according to The Reporter.

That road production debuts in October at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis.

Memphis is a true story based on Dewey Phillips, a white DJ who tried to break racial barriers and push black Beale Street rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream during the 1950s in that southern city.

National screenings of the filmed performances are likely to be followed by international dates and a DVD release, a rep told the trade publication.