This Tony Award-winning musical tells the tale of a night four friends got together to rock.
Musicals have been written that celebrate families, make historical events come alive and tell fantastic stories. One of the newest musicals, Million Dollar Quartet, celebrates an historical event and the musical album that resulted from it.
The Storyline of Million Dollar Quarter
On December 4, 1956, Jerry Lee Lewis was at the recording studios for Sun Records in Memphis. He was the new talent and looking to prove himself on this night. He was working with Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun, a bass player and a drummer on some new music.
Soon three of the other talents for Sun Records arrive. The first to arrive is Carl Perkins. He is annoyed with Sun because his music is not going as fast as others. He is thinking of leaving Sun and going somewhere else. Soon Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, with his friend Dyanne, arrive. Both are also thinking of leaving Sun for better representation.
The result of all four of these famous musicians being in one place at one time is one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all times. There are some bumps in the road as these four personalities clash over fame, music and life. The results in the end of this fateful night is a great album and famous picture of the four.
Songs included in Million Dollar Quartet
The songs are hits from all four of the artist being portrayed on the stage. Some of the songs the entire company sings like Blue Suede Shoes and Brown Haired Handsome Man. Others are performed by the actors portraying the characters. Elvis sings Long Tall Sally and Peace in the Valley.
Jerry Lee Lewis sings Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On, Great Balls of Fire and Real Wild Child. Carl Perkins performs Matchbox, Who Do You Love, and See You Later Alligator. Johnny Cash sings Folsom Prison Blues, Riders in the Sky and I Walk the Line. Dyanne, Elvis’ friend, provides a female voice to the group singing Fever and I Hear You Knockin’.
Actors of Million Dollar Quartet
I saw the show in Chicago at the Apollo Theater. The actors chosen to perform as these four famous musicians did an outstanding job. Each had not only the correct vocal inflections for the songs or the speaking parts, but also had adopted many of the mannerisms the musicians had made famous. The actor playing Jerry Lee Lewis was able to play piano with his feet while the portrayer of Johnny Cash had the odd way Cash holds his guitar down.
Other Important Information about Million Dollar Quartet
The Apollo Theater in Chicago is a small intimate theater. The stage is set up to as a recording studio. The audience is so close that you actually feel like you are a part of the action. You are close enough to actually smell the cigarettes the characters are smoking.
The show is loud as befitting a rock concert or rock musical. The music is played well by live musicians with real instruments. The theater feels like it is filled with energy from the first note of the first song to the final note of the encores.
The show is best for children 10 and up. The music is loud and at times there is some rough language. The show is set in the 60s so both are befitting of the time.
Men and women of all ages will enjoy this musical. It would be particularly enjoyed by the people who were teenagers when Presley, Perkins, Lewis, and Cash were making music. It is a quick walk down memory lane to a time when rock was king.
Where to see Million Dollar Quartet
The show is currently on an open ended run on Broadway and in Chicago. The show is performed at the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway. The show is performed on Tuesday through Saturday evenings with matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The show is also being performed at the Apollo Theater in Chicago. The show is performed on Wednesday through Sunday evenings with matinees on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Anyone who enjoys good rock music should make it a point to try and see this fun show. All seats are good, as the theaters are small and intimate.