HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ★★★★★
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ★★★★★
Chicago’s Goodman Theatre is where it all started. “Million Dollar Quartet” began its journey into our lives there, then moved to The Apollo on Lincoln Avenue ( where it remained for years) and branched off to the world. It is now back, reaching out to younger audiences, many of whom were not even born during the period when four performers, all discovered by Sun Records would spend one wild night in 1956. Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire is doing this show in the round, as they do with all of their productions. After seeing countless productions of this show, I was very curious as to how they could pull this off. How could people sitting on four sides of the stage bear witness to the craziness of one Jerry Lee Lewis and his antics at the piano. Well, hats off to director James Moye! He pulled it off to perfection.
For those of you that do not know the story of that night in Memphis. It was December 4th and our set (Jeffrey D. Kmiec) is Sun Records studio. Since all of the characters ( and actors) play their own instruments, they have utilized the orchestra booth as the recording studio’s sound booth. It sure looks realistic. Sam Phillips (David Folsom), owner of Sun Records, is our narrator/storyteller for the evening, as he explains how he found each of the four men who we get an opportunity to hear sing. Rock and Roll was new to our country and these four men, all of whom we know as legends in the industry, all came through this little record company:
Carl Perkins (Shaun Whitley) who was the actual creator of “Blue Suede Shoes” and who many younger people may not have as much knowledge of, Johnny Cash ( an incredible performance by Christopher J. Essex, who truly sounds like th real thing), Elvis Presley ( deftly handled by Rustin Cole Sailors) and newcomer to the industry, Jerry Lee Lewis (you will not believe your eyes when you see Nat Zegree hit the piano). These four men created music with the assistance of Phillips. During the course of this 100 minutes of musical magic, we get to hear songs like “Sixteen Tons”, ,”Memories Are Made of This”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I Walk The Line”, “Great Balls of Fire” and many , many more. In fact the last four songs are done after the first curtain call-“Hound Dog”, “Rider in The Sky”,
“See You Later Alligator” and Jerry Lee Lewis doing the amazing “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On” WOW!
Joining this powerful quartet are Zach Lentino as Brother Jay and Kieran McCabe as Fluke along with the vivacious Laura Savage as Dyanne who does a few songs herself, “Fever” and “I Hear You knocking”. The night is special and many unknown facts are revealed about the relationship that these men may or may not have had, but the fact is this night did happen, and some of it recorded for posterity.While it may not be 100% factual, it is 100% pure entertainment and to be honest I would pay the price for the ticket just to watch Zegree at the keyboard. He is wild and fills the theater with excitement.
The technical aspects of the show are, as always, right on! Theresa Ham’s costumes are of the period, Jesse Klug’s lighting , perfect and the sound (Robert E. Gilmartin) flawless. Sally Zack has
assembled some great props and The music, played by these performers was directed by Ryan T. Nelson and supervised by Patti Garwood.