Last night, I saw Million Dollar Quartet at the State Theatre and all I’ve got to say is: WOW. (No, I don’t mean World of Warcraft.) Million Dollar Quartet is a “musical” about the day when Johnny Cash (played by Derek Keeling), Elvis Presley (played by Cody Slaughter), Carl Perkins (played by Lee Ferris) and Jerry Lee Lewis (played by Martin Kaye) made a record together. The man who brought them all together was Sam Phillips (played by Scott Moreau), a record producer of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. The show really isn’t a musical, it’s more of a play with music in it. I personally hate it when things get categorized as musicals when they’re obviously not. If anything, Million Dollar Quartet is like a musical biopic on stage.
All of the performers in the show were very good. Of course, the Million Dollar Quartet were all talented singers and they also played their own instruments. Johnny, Elvis and Carl playing guitars and Jerry Lee playing the piano. They all had a moment to shine during the show. Derek Keeling was excellent as Johnny Cash with his great bass voice. It was amazing to hear how low he could go. Cody Slaughter was amazing as Elvis, he even looks like him, so he was simply perfect for this role. He had the voice down and the moves down. It was like you were really seeing Elvis on stage. Scott Moreau was great as Sam Phillips, he didn’t sing, but he acted really well and he got a lot of time to talk to the audience giving bits of narration and exposition. Kelly Lamont played Dyanne, Elvis’ girlfriend, she had a really great voice and she was a good actor too. There was also Jay Perkins, Carl Perkins’ brother (played by Chuck Zayas), on the bass cello and Fluke (played by Billy Shaffer) on the drums. They were both fantastic and it was very entertaining to see Chuck Zayas playing with the bass cello, throwing it in the air and spinning it.
For most of the show there was only one set, the recording studio where the record was made, but halfway through the set was lifted up to reveal tons of lights behind it and it turned into a concert all of a sudden. An odd but still very cool change. The costumes were also really good, they were authentic with the time that it was set and the people that are wearing them. During the concert, four sparkly colored jackets were lowered and they put them on. That was a really great moment. The lights really gave it a concert feel, especially during the concert part of the show.
There were a lot of old people and young people in the audience and they all seemed to enjoy it. There were a few obnoxious, but hilarious audience members that would yell stuff out at random, which, interestingly, really helped give the feel of a real concert. Everyone was having a really good time during the show and you got to rock out to the music. This is a wonderful show about four talented singers and musicians and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who are fans of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, fans of musicals or people who just want to have a good time. Everyone should try to see this show while they still can. Million Dollar Quartet is playing at the State Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis from March 28-April 1.