BWW Reviews: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at the Kennedy Center - Priceless!
I have to admit when MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET was playing on Broadway it really didn't interest me. So when I stepped into the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theatre I had no idea what to expect. And what a pleasant surprise I had.
How the Signature Theatre's Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer ever got the gig to direct this musical should be an interesting story. In fact, the last time I was in this theater was to celebrate Schaeffer's 50th Birthday celebration.
After viewing this thoroughly enjoyable evening of music, I felt like I had just witnessed the Mt. Rushmore of rock 'n' roll starring Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. What a treat!
The story is based a true reunion for one night only in the studio of Sun Records in Memphis. There is even a recording of what occurred on that historical evening but the music was mainly country and gospel. So the producers took dramatic license and changed the musical numbers for a mass audience. And they chose wisely.
There is also a slim book which concerns a recording session for Perkins and an introduction to a new pianist Jerry Lee Lewis by Sun Records' impresario Sam Phillips who originally signed these four icons. Presley drops by after his trip to Hollywood and after signing with RCA records. Cash is expected to sign a new three year contract but things don't work out there.
RCA is also interested in bringing on Phillips to its label but the stubborn musical maven instead decides to sign Roy Orbison and buy stock (thanks to the money RCA paid him to sign Presley) in a small hotel chain, Holiday Inn.
You will learn a little. Did you know "Blue Suede Shoes" was initially done by Perkins? But for a mishap, Perkins was to sing the song on the nationally televised Perry Como show. A few weeks later, Presley sang it on the "Ed Sullivan Show", Perkins wasn't very pleased and the rest is history.