Million Dollar Quartet
Show Date: March 11, 2012
Venue: Music Hall at Fair Park
The date: December 4th, 1956.
The location: a dumpy little recording studio called “Sun Records” at 706 Union Avenue, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Those in attendance: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Perkins was working on some new songs. Lewis was there to help and, eventually, Presley and Cash wondered in unannounced to pay a visit to the man that helped launch their careers: Sam Phillips.
What happened: An informal, spontaneous jam session with four of the most iconic names in music that was dubbed by local papers a “The Million Dollar Quarter”.
Fast forward to the current millennium.
The events of that Tuesday night almost 56 years ago serve as the inspiration for the hot Broadway musical, Million Dollar Quartet. The show currently runs in New York and Chicago as well as on a national tour. The show is currently running at Music Hall at Fair Park here in Dallas and is where I caught an afternoon performance.
The set was stunning. The music, incredible. The actors? Let me tell you about these actors. I don’t know what factory they get these people from but they were dead ringers for the real things, I kid you not! Whether it was Cody Slaughter as the young Elvis (and, by the way, sounds just like the king), Lee Ferris as Carl Perkins (and playing all the very good guitar himself), Derek Keeling as Johnny Cash (and sounding just like him) or Christopher Ryan Grant as Sam Phillips, the cast was amazing.
No, I haven’t forgotten about Jerry Lee Lewis”. “The Killer was impeccably played by U.K. born, Martin Kaye. I was mesmerized by his performance both as an actor and as a pianist. He provided comic relief (not that the play needed it but it was funny just the same) and commanded attention just as I suspect Lewis did back in the 50’s. Kaye is worth the price of admission just to see him play. He’s that good.
Kelly Lamont plays a fictional character, “Dyanne”, who takes the place of the very real girlfriend of Elvis, Marilyn Evans. Ms. Lamont’s performance was incredible and her voice strong and pitch-perfect. She seemed to sizzle on stage as she sang Fever and I Hear You Knocking.
All of this talent, coupled with an incredible set, a quality production – all presented at the ever-excellent Music Hall at Fair Park (where every seat in the venue is an excellent seat)- makes for a lot of fun to watch and worth seeing repeatedly. Yes, it’s that good.
Million Dollar Quartet runs at the Music Hall at Fair Park through March 18th before moving on to Kansas City and other cities near you. Click here for more information about the Dallas shows or shows in other cities.
- Written by Randy Patterson
Million Dollar Quartet