Review Roundup: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Presented by Drayton Entertainment at CAA Theatre
Drayton Entertainment presents MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the 2010 jukebox musical which tells the true story of the night when legends Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins played together for the first and last time. The production, with direction by Alex Mustakas and musical direction by Konrad Pluta, opened December 12th and runs through January 7th.
Let's hear what the critics had to say!
Taylor Long, Broadway World: The performances - are fantastic. Save for a few moments (screeching female harmonies in the last few numbers), the music is tight and runs seamlessly. The performers are not only great impersonators, who sound, move and speak like their superstar counterparts, they are impressively talented, both vocally and instrumentally. Solomon looks and sounds like Johnny Cash, comfortably droning in the lowest parts of the male voice to produce that signature, gravel-bass timbre that made Cash so famous. As Elvis, Cage swoons with some of the King's signature moves and croons with a voice that leans into just the right vocal pockets - he does a terrific job singing the role. Check's powerful voice is a great match for Carl Perkins, flaunting his guitar skills in various solos throughout the show. As the much needed comedic relief, Everard amazes as he plays every single part of the piano as Jerry Lee Lewis. Practically vibrating with manic energy as the eccentric singer, Everard sang and played his way through the challenging repertoire - using nearly every part of his body to bang out his crazy piano solos. If you're a fan of this music, you will have a thrilling time at MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET - just don't expect a story that will thrill as much as the music will.
Carly Maga, The Star: Million Dollar Quartet unfortunately demonstrates where recreation can verge into imitation, and the result is an awkwardly thin study in character or plot, even for a jukebox musical, a form infamous for having books that do scarcely more than introduce the next chart-topping song. In director Alex Mustakas's production, the thrill of songs like "That's All Right," "Sixteen Tons," "Who Do You Love," "Great Balls of Fire" and "Down By the Riverside" - highlighted here by the musical acrobatics of Gerrad Everard as Jerry Lee Lewis, Tyler Check as Carl Perkins, Aaron Solomon as Johnny Cash and Matt Cage as Elvis Presley - struggles to rise above the weight of the dialogue in between. That dialogue dwells repetitiously on the few key plot points that book writers Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux created to surround the recording session - primarily, Phillips's decision around selling Sun Records to RCA Victor and joining Elvis there, as well as Cash's new contract with Columbia Records. As emotive as the songs themselves are, the script of Million Dollar Quartet is painfully free of feeling.
Hayley Michaud, Tribute: Each song is so full of life and when the ensemble is singing together, it's a lot of fun. Million Dollar Quartet ends on a high note as the four men come back out in sparkling jackets and each play one of their character's most famous songs. The songs are all upbeat and each of them encourages audience participation - Elvis even flirted with the crowd a little, but that shouldn't come a surprise. With each of the final four songs I thought it couldn't possibly get more enjoyable, but they saved Jerry Lee Lewis for last and I was smiling so much I was probably not far away from having tears in my eyes. Million Dollar Quartet runs until Jan. 7, 2018 at the CAA Theatre (formerly the Panasonic Theatre) and it's a show you don't want to miss. It's got a good story, great music and is all around a fantastic example of musical theater.
Photo Courtesy of Drayton Entertainment