One of my favorite shows to hit the Fox Theatre stage in recent years was “Million Dollar Quartet.” So when I heard the show was coming back for a weekend gig I was ready for another rollicking good time.
Does it hold up on second view? Yes. If you haven’t seen it before should you see it now? Absolutely.
“Million Dollar Quartet” is a highly fictionalized account of the December night in 1956 when music legends Elvis Presley (Jacob Rowley), Johnny Cash (Scott Moreau), Carl Perkins (Gabe Bowling) and Jerry Lee Lewis (Colte Julian) got together at Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tenn. The foursome was propelled from obscurity to stardom at Sun Records, run by savvy businessman Sam Phillips (Bryan Langlitz).
In this story by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, each musician has a personal drama to play out over the course of the day’s impromptu jam session. Presley has left Sun for a larger record company and Cash is about to do the same. Perkins is desperate for a comeback hit while Lewis just wants to get his career started. Perkins and Lewis get along like fire and ice.
Phillips is at his own crossroads, career-wise. Presley wants Phillips to join him at RCA but the music guru wants to remain his own boss. He’s hoping to sign Cash to a new contract, unaware that the Man in Black has made other plans.
It all unfolds through a whirlwind 2-hour jam session packed with early country, rockabilly, gospel and rock hits. The quartet are backed by the solid rhythm section of Jay Perkins (Chuck Zayas) on bass and Fluke (Patrick Morrow) on drums. Rounding out the cast is Laura Obenauf as Dyanne, a singer brought to the party by Presley.
The show features 23 classic tunes ranging from Presley’s “Hound Dog” to Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” to Perkins’ “Matchbox” to Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire.” The actors all play their own instruments with Bowling and Julian showing outstanding musical talent.
“Million Dollar Quartet” is a great show and it won’t be here long. Check it out.
“Million Dollar Quartet” runs through Sunday at the Fox Theatre. http://www.fabulousfox.com/