Memphis composer David Bryan is such a humble first-time Tony nominee that it’s sometimes easy to forget he’s also a rock star, as the keyboardist for Bon Jovi. On June 13, 2010, Bryan’s two worlds will collide when the Tony Awards will take place on the same night as a high-profile Bon Jovi gig in London, part of the band’s 12-show run at The O2. So what’s a guy to do? Go to the Tonys, of course!
“It will be the first show I’ve ever missed since I was 16 years old playing with Jon [Bon Jovi],” Bryan told Broadway.com at the 2010 Tony Nominee Press Reception on May 5. “I’ve never missed a show. When my father passed away, I waited two days to bury him ‘cause I had two shows to do. And he would have understood that, ‘cause he was a musician, too.”
Bryan said he found “a guy” to take his spot in the band on Tony night, and that band front man Jon Bon Jovi was supportive of his decision: “Jon was like, ‘Go to those Tonys!’” Memphis, which opened on Broadway in October 19, 2009, is nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Bryan received a nomination for Best Original Score for the score to Memphis, which he wrote with lyricist/librettist Joe DiPietro over the past decade, as well as a nod for Best Orchestrations with Daryl Waters. The duo also collaborated on the off-Broadway musical The Toxic Avenger.
“I’ve been through a lot of experiences in my life being in the biggest band in the world,” Bryan said. “But [being a Tony nominee] ranks right up there with number one. Personally, this is an unbelievable accomplishment.”