BroadwayWorld.com and other select members of the press were invited last night to a cocktail reception and a performance of Million Dollar Quartet, which tells the story of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins' historic 1956 recording session. The show is now playing open-ended run at its new Off-Broadway home, the New World Stages.
Although this stage adaptation is actually loosely based on the rock ‘n’ roll gods’ famed one-time recording session at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee, Eddie Clendening, who’s been playing Presley since the musical’s premiere in Chicago four years ago; Lance Guest, who plays Cash; Robert Britton Lyons, who’s been playing Perkins alongside Clendening’s Presley since the Chicago production; Eric Stang, who plays Lewis; James Moye, who plays Sam Phillips, the “Million Dollar Quartet’s” discoverer; Victoria Matlock, who plays Presley’s girlfriend Dyanne – her Broadway debut; and writers Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux’s book are musically and emotionally target-driven and are able to deliver both a pulsating and a rollicking ‘50s themed concert drama for the theatergoers.
The audience members at New World Stages’ Stage 4 are treated like an extension of Phillips' modest recording studio on that auspicious day in Rock and Roll history. The musical’s coherent narrative exposes the audience to the rock stars’ humble beginnings, vulnerabilities, insecurities, and career changing decisions that are not always seen before the eyes of an adoring public. Furthermore, the intimate space at New World Stages’ Stage 4 makes the experience even more personal.
Million Dollar Quartet, which first opened on Broadway at Nederlander Theatre two years ago, received Tony Award nominations for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. Levi Kreis, who originated the role of Lewis in the original Broadway production, won a Tony Award for his performance.
This New York production of Million Dollar Quartet is directed by Eric Schaeffer, featuring Derek McLane’s scenic design, Howell Binkley’s lighting design, Jane Greenwood’s costume design, Kai Harada’s sound design, and Chuck Mead’s musical arrangements and supervision. Popular songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Riders in the Sky,” “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” are some of the show’s musical number selections.
For tickets and for more information, visit www.milliondollarquartetlive.com or follow Million Dollar Quartet on Twitter @milliondquartet.
Photos by Jory Rivera