One evening, back in December of 1956, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis came together at Sun Records Studio to play together. Million Dollar Quartet is an imagining of this concert, a theatre production based on the book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. Stage West’s production features some outstanding musical talent and tribute performances to these famous artists.
Sam Phillips (J. Sean Elliott) is the owner of Sun Records Studios and is in conversation RCA Studios because they want to buy him out. Phillips is the one who has discovered the talent in Elvis Presley (Matt Cage), Carl Perkins (Tyler Check) Johnny Cash (Maxwell Theodore Lebeuf) and Jerry Lee Lewis (Gerrad Everard). He’s torn about the job prospect, and has to decide by the end of the evening. Cash’s contract is coming up and Phillips wants to sign him on again.
All of his artists show up on this night, and wind up jamming. The production features Scott Carmicheal on the drums and Zachary Knowles on bass. Elvis Presley brings his songstress girlfriend Dyanne (Laura Mae Nason) who performs a smouldering rendition of ‘Fever.’
What makes Stage West’s production of Million Dollar Quartet is that everyone on stage is a fabulous musician. Everyone can sing within their character (especially Cash in baritone) and are spectacular entertainers. Everard’s Jerry Lee Lewis is over the top and sits very nicely that way. Cage has spent most of his stage performances as Presley and you can tell. He’s mastered the King facial expressions and dance movement. Alex Mustakas’ direction ensures that the narrative holds everything together and that the show unfolds at a steady pace.
The final numbers from each artist has the energy of a rock concert. It is fun and dynamic. It’s rock and roll.
Stage West’s Million Dollar Quartet runs until November 13th. More information is available online.