Put on Your Blue Suede Shoes for a Schedule You Won't Want to Miss
It isn't just country and gospel music lovers
who have always dreamed of the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend an entire night with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry
Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Not to mention how many would settle to be simply a fly on the wall observing a jam session and
noodling of these legendary musicians. As it turns out, Washington D.C. audiences will have the next best opportunity at the
family-friendly, Tony Award-winning Broadway musical entitled Million Dollar Quartet. It is one Broadway musical that musical
and non-musical lovers will not want to miss during its tour dates. Audiences will be dancing and rocking and rolling in their
seats to the country, gospel rockabilly sounds of some of the greatest hits: Blue Suede Shoes, Real Wild Child, Folsom Prison
Blues, I Walk the Line, Great Balls of Fire, Hound Dog and more. If you miss this one, you might be singing the line, "You
ain't nothing but a hound dog, cryin' all the time" to yourself.
The Million Dollar Quartet Recording Plot
night with these amazing musicians may seem to god to be true, but as it turns out the musical is inspired by an actual recording
session. The session took place when the "Father of Rock 'n' Roll," Sam Phillips, inadvertently gathered Elvis Pressley, Johnny
Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins together in a recording studio. Of course, what happened is exactly what one would
expect, as it made for an unforgettable recording session and an excellent plot for a musical. How it happened is that Johnny
Cash and Elvis Presley independently elected to drop by the famous Sun Studios to check out Carl Perkins during a recording
session he had scheduled. Jerry Lee Lewis accompanied Carl Perkins on the keys. Jerry Lee Lewis was still unknown at the time.
Sometimes, the stars are aligned and this was one of those nights that produced an otherworldly impromptu jam session. Being
the Father of Rock 'n' Roll, and fathers always knowing what is best, he took advantage of this rare opportunity by leaving
the recording tape running. He also called a Memphis Press-Scimitar reporter and photographer to document this extraordinary
moment. This one time only event happened on December 4, 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis, TN. Now, North American audiences
are now seeing it reenacted on its stages coast to coast.
The Million Dollar Quartet Trivia
So what kind
of music did the musicians actually sing during the jam session? Well, the musicians actually sang gospel and country songs.
Interestingly, as seen in the production, there is a woman by the name of "Dyanne" who sings. The actress represents a girlfriend
of Elvis. The real girlfriend was a Las Vegas showgirl by the name of Marilyn Evans, who was, in fact, at the studio that
night. Although, Evans did not sing during the jam session and was even cropped out of photos.
In an autobiography,
Johnny Cash discussed the Million-Dollar Quartet session. He explained how it was meant to be a recording session for Carl
Perkins and laments that Perkins was left in the shadow of his fellow stars, "There's certainly a sense that Carl Perkins
stands in the shadow of Elvis, Jerry Lee, and me. You can see when people talk or write about the so-called Million-Dollar
Quartet session, the only time to my knowledge that all four of us sang together. Somehow Carl's name always seems to come
last in the list of participants, but in fact it was his session that day." Being one of the brightest stars in the quartet,
Cash sheds light on why Elvis left the building, "If you're wondering why Elvis left right after Jerry Lee got started, the
answer is simple: nobody, not even Elvis, ever wanted to follow Jerry Lee. And no, I don't remember Jerry Lee ever saying
anything disparaging about Elvis. He didn't have an attitude about Elvis especially; he just had an attitude." While unknown,
Jerry Lee apparently even got to Elvis.
A Casting of Stars
The cast is as cool as audiences would expect,
representing such movers and shakers in the early days of rock and roll. James Barry as Carl Perkins is credited for the original
Broadway cast of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. We then have John Countryman portraying the unknown and talented Jerry Lee
Lewis. With great hair and the appropriate lip affect, Tyler Hunter is Elvis Presley. What is perfect about Tyler Hunter is
that he had already spent two years portraying Elvis with the Legends in Concert in Atlantic City and Hawaii shows before
joining the cast. He is so believable as Elvis Presley; he almost makes you want to sing at your wedding. Scott Moreau as
Johnny Cash makes you feel like getting married in a fever. Scott Moreau played Johnny in a regional performance of Johnny
Guitar the Musical and Johnny Brown in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. He certainly has a knack for playing Johnnies. Vince Nappo
is no other than the father who knows Rock and Roll best, Sam Phillips. Audiences may have recently seen him on the ABC drama
Red Window as the character Vincent. The aforementioned cast are joined by Corey Kaiser, Kelly Lamont, Patrick Morrow, Katie
Barton, Andrew Frace, Sean McGibbon, David Sonneborn, Bradley Waters and Robby Kipferl.
tour's creative team is a star-studded entourage. The book was written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. While being born
in England, Escott now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. the place where he as written a number of books on Sun Records and
even co-produced works on Hank Williams. Mutrux, however, has worked on over fifty films in the last twenty-five years. The
Million Dollar Quartet's Director, Eric Shaeffer, has previously worked on both Broadway and West End productions of the Million
Dollar Quartet and many more. He is also the artistic director/co-founder of the Signature Theatre in Washington DC. How could
anyone be surprised that the masterminds behind making this historical event into a musical are top-notch in their industries?
Well, Washington D.C., it is your chance to be more than a fly on the wall. It is your chance to watch it all unfold on stage.