Nederlander Theatre, (4/11/2010 - 6/12/2011)

First Preview: Mar 13, 2010
Opening Date: Apr 11, 2010
Closing Date: Jun 12, 2011
Total Previews: 34
Total Performances: 489

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway
Setting: Sun Records' storefront studio in Memphis. 1956.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Nederlander Organization (James M. Nederlander: Chairman; James L. Nederlander: President)

Produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology, Broadway Across America and James L. Nederlander

Developed and Produced at Village Theatre (Robb Hunt, Executive Producer; Steve Tomkins, Artistic Director); Originally presented by Seaside Music Theater (Tippin Davidson, Producer; Lester Malizia, Artistic Director)

Book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux; Music arranged by Chuck Mead; Additional Arrangements by Levi Kreis

Directed by Eric Schaeffer; Conceived by Floyd Mutrux; Originally directed by: Floyd Mutrux; Assistant Director: David Ruttura

Scenic Design by Derek McLane; Costume Design by Jane Greenwood; Lighting Design by Howell Binkley; Sound Design by Kai Harada; Hair and Wig Design by Tom Watson; Associate Scenic Design: Shoko Kambara; Associate Costume Design: Moria Clinton; Associate Lighting Design: Ryan O'Gara

General Manager: Alan Wasser and Allan Williams; Company Manager: Jolie Gabler

Production Manager: Juniper Street Productions; Production Stage Manager: Robert Witherow; Assistant Stage Mgr: Carolyn Kelson and Erik Hayden

Musical Supervisor: Chuck Mead; Associate Musical Supervisor: August Eriksmoen; Bass: Corey Kaiser; Drummer: Larry Lelli

Casting: Telsey + Company; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Director of Marketing: Carol Chiavetta; Marketing: Allied Live; Advertising: SPOTCo, Inc.; Photographer: Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Eddie Clendening
Broadway debut
Elvis Presley
Lance Guest
Broadway debut
Johnny Cash
Levi Kreis
Broadway debut
Jerry Lee Lewis
(Mar 13, 2010 - Mar 03, 2011)
Rob Lyons
Broadway debut
Carl Perkins
(Mar 13, 2010 - Mar 13, 2011)
Hunter FosterSam Phillips
Elizabeth StanleyDyanne
(Mar 13, 2010 - Mar 13, 2011)

Understudies: Christopher Ryan Grant (Johnny Cash), Erik Hayden (Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley), Jared Mason (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis), Victoria Matlock (Dyanne), James Moye (Sam Phillips) and James Scheider (Jerry Lee Lewis)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2010 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology, Broadway Across America and James L. Nederlander

 2010 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux

winner 2010 Best Featured Actor in a Musical [winner] 

Levi Kreis

Drama Desk Award

 2010 Outstanding Musical Revue [nominee] 

Produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology, Broadway Across America and James L. Nederlander


ACT 1 Sung By
Blue Suede Shoes
(music by Carl L. Perkins; lyrics by Carl L. Perkins )
Real Wild Child
(music by John O'Keefe, John Greenan and Dave Owens; lyrics by John O'Keefe, John Greenan and Dave Owens )
Jerry Lee Lewis
(music by Carl L. Perkins; lyrics by Carl L. Perkins )
Carl Perkins
Who Do You Love?
(music by Ellas McDaniel; lyrics by Ellas McDaniel )
Carl Perkins
Folsom Prison Blues
(music by John R. Cash; lyrics by John R. Cash )
Johnny Cash
(music by Eddie Cooley and Johnny Davenport; lyrics by Eddie Cooley and Johnny Davenport )
Memories Are Made of This
(music by Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr and Frank Miller; lyrics by Terry Gilkyson, Richard Dehr and Frank Miller )
Elvis Presley
That's All Right
(music by Arthur Crudup; lyrics by Arthur Crudup )
Elvis Presley
Brown Eyed Handsome Man
(music by Chuck Berry; lyrics by Chuck Berry )
Down by the RiversideCompany
Sixteen Tons
(music by Merle Travis; lyrics by Merle Travis )
Johnny Cash
My Babe
(music by Willie Dixon; lyrics by Willie Dixon )
Carl Perkins
Long Tall Sally
(music by Robert Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman; lyrics by Robert Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman )
Elvis Presley
Peace in the Valley
(music by Thomas A. Dorsey; lyrics by Thomas A. Dorsey )
I Walk the Line
(music by John R. Cash; lyrics by John R. Cash )
Johnny Cash
I Hear You Knockin
(music by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King; lyrics by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King )
(music by Jessie Mae Robinson; lyrics by Jessie Mae Robinson )
Carl Perkins and Company
Great Balls of Fire
(music by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer; lyrics by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer )
Jerry Lee Lewis
Down by the Riverside (Reprise) Company
Hound Dog
(music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller; lyrics by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller )
Elvis Presley
Ghost Riders
(music by Stan Jones; lyrics by Stan Jones )
Johnny Cash
See You Later Alligator
(music by Robert Guidry; lyrics by Robert Guidry )
Carl Perkins
Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
(music by Curly Williams; lyrics by Curly Williams )
Jerry Lee Lewis


AP: "Quartet of music legends rocks 'n' rolls on B'way"

Put Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis in a Memphis recording studio and you're bound to make musical fireworks. Maybe even a Broadway show.

That's the premise behind "Million Dollar Quartet," a fictional recreation of their celebrated jam session on Dec. 4, 1956, apparently the only time these music legends ever played together. This high-energy entertainment, which opened Sunday at the Nederlander Theatre, is part jukebox concert, part history lesson of '50s pop music and part cautionary tale about the ups and downs of show biz.

If the story, fashioned by book writers Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, is elemental and often a bit awkward, the musical performances are not - a galvanizing collection of singers and musicians who deliver the songs with an explosive authority that really rocks the house.

The original session was orchestrated by Sun Records producer Sam Phillips, the mastermind behind the early recordings of all four singers. He's the man who pushed them on the road to stardom.

Phillips, played by Hunter Foster with good ol' boy charm, is also the show's nominal narrator. His story is an important part of "Million Dollar Quartet."

"I didn't just wanna play the tunes. I wanted to record them," Phillips drawls early on in the evening.

And what tunes, classics ranging from "Blue Suede Shoes" to "Folsom Prison Blues" to "Long Tall Sally" to "Great Balls of Fire." Particularly as sung and played by the four performers who eerily inhabit these musical giants in their younger, formative years.

Lance Guest is an authentic, grade A Johnny Cash, looking and sounding amazingly like the country-western icon.

As Presley, Eddie Clendening has the most difficult job - capturing the best-known voice in the show and the emotions of the shy, young man bewildered by the enormous attention he has received. Clendening does the King just fine.

Rockabilly star Perkins is perhaps the most interesting character on stage. The singer is bitter because his version of "Blue Suede Shoes" was overshadowed by Presley's later take on the song. Robert Britton Lyons effectively portrays the man's hurt and anger, an anger that has an outlet in his furious yet fabulous guitar-playing.

If there is a scene-stealer in "Million Dollar Quartet," it's Levi Kreis as the more than ebullient Lewis, whose confidence - and his piano-playing - can't be contained.

There is also one other character, Presley's mysterious female companion, here called Dyanne, played by a sexy, red-haired Elizabeth Stanley. She holds her own with the show's other singers, especially on a defiant version of "I Hear You Knocking." Yet her presence is never fully explained.

Eric Schaeffer, who runs the Signature Theatre in Washington's Virginia suburbs, has staged the show with a minimum of fuss. The book heads toward a glum confrontation between Phillips and several of the singers, who are leaving Sun Records for more lucrative contracts with larger recording labels.

Yet the gloom is dispelled quickly when "Million Dollar Quartet" finishes up its curtain calls with high-voltage renditions of "Hound Dog," "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "See You Later Alligator" and the appropriately titled "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On." Of course, they get the cheering audience to its feet.


New York Post: "Forming rock without heat"

Back in the '50s, some people thought rock 'n' roll was "the devil's music." It was "temptation, fornication and damnation in that order," Jerry Lee Lewis explains in the new Broadway show "Million Dollar Quartet."

But don't worry: This rockabilly musical is as wholesome as a PBS concert -- the only thing lacking is a pledge drive.

On Dec. 4, 1956, Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins jammed at the Sun Records studio in Memphis. That historic session provides the basis for Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux's stroll down memory lane.

They took some liberties with history and spread the material among the men, even though you barely hear Cash on the original recording. They also have them cover a sample of their hits at the time, whereas in reality the four singers played a lot of hymns.

The cast dutifully ticks off one number after another: "Blue Suede Shoes," "Sixteen Tons," "Long Tall Sally," "Great Balls of Fire" and so on. Sun owner and producer Sam Phillips (Hunter Foster) provides context and keeps things moving between numbers.

The show is economical, which is a polite way to say cheap: a single set, four singers who back themselves up on piano and guitar, plus a drummer and a stand-up bassist.

Since "Million Dollar Quartet" is basically a covers show, everything hangs on the songs. Arranger Chuck Mead, a founding member of the alt-country band BR-549, wisely didn't mess them up. But the performances themselves are merely adequate.

The problem is that these four stars are played by journeymen. Only Levi Kreis, as Jerry Lee Lewis, projects any kind of energy. Lance Guest displays an impressive baritone as Cash, but he trips on half his spoken lines. Robert Britton Lyons' Carl Perkins barely registers, even though the character has a chip on his shoulder that could have made for good drama -- if, you know, the show had been remotely interested in drama.

Worse of all, Eddie Clendening's Elvis is completely neutered. It's impossible to picture this guy driving millions of women crazy. Even the girlfriend who accompanies him to the studio, Dyanne (Elizabeth Stanley, from "Cry-Baby"), seems vaguely bored.

Only at the very end does the adrenaline surge a little. Out of the blue, director Eric Schaeffer goes all Vegas on us. It's not rock 'n' roll in the least, but at least it's fun to watch.

New York Post

USA Today: "This 'Million Dollar Quartet' sounds a little off-key"

So now we know the truth: Elvis wasn't nearly as sexy as Carl Perkins or as charismatic as Jerry Lee Lewis.

That revelation, however fictional, is the most entertaining aspect of Million Dollar Quartet (* *½ out of four), the patronizing new jukebox musical that opened Sunday at the Nederlander Theatre.

Broadway's latest attempt to cash in on aging rock fans' nostalgia ostensibly takes us back to a December day in 1956, when Presley, Perkins, Lewis and Johnny Cash joined forces for a once-in-a-lifetime jam session.

The setting was the Memphis studios of Sun Records, and the results were recorded for posterity. The audio captures the icons — with the possible exception of Cash, whose participation outside of posing for photos has been questioned by some music pundits — covering rootsy oldies and spirituals, along with a sprinkling of the era's popular tunes.

The show includes some of those songs, but it's essentially a greatest-hits showcase, using the star-studded occasion as an excuse to trot out such proven crowd-pleasers as Blue Suede Shoes,Hound Dog, I Walk the Line and Great Balls of Fire, to name a few.

The plot, for anyone who cares, is a truncated, oversimplified retelling of the artists' successes and struggles with Sun, whose legendary founder, Sam Phillips, also is a character. The musicians are relegated to stereotypes: Presley is the gentle but ambitious charmer, Perkins the righteous maverick, Cash the religious family man, Lewis the boastful upstart.

Luckily, director Eric Schaeffer has enlisted some exuberantly talented performers to reincarnate the idols. Most have more experience as singers and musicians (they play their own instruments) than actors. But only Eddie Clendening, the velvet-throated young man cast as Presley, shows a hint of reticence; actually, he's out-Elvised by Robert Britton Lyons' rugged, feral Perkins.

Levi Kreis' loose-limbed, flamboyantly comical Lewis proves equally stage-worthy, and Lance Guest, who boasts the most theater credits, brings a suitable gravity to Cash. Whether shooting the breeze or playing the hits — the latter are enhanced by Chuck Mead's muscular arrangements — the four lend a bit more authenticity to the proceedings.

Sadly, the same can't be said for the musical-theater veterans who fill out the cast. Baby-faced Hunter Foster, trying to portray Phillips as a swaggering Southern business honcho, suggests a precocious teenager playing Big Daddy in a high school production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Elizabeth Stanley looks luscious as a girlfriend of Presley's who attended the actual session, though her role is elevated here to a supporting singer. But crooning a mannered Fever and a cartoonishly overheated I Hear You Knockin', Stanley reminds us that not all Broadway babies have an affinity for that old-time rock 'n' roll.

All told, you're better off staying home and taking some old records off the shelf.

USA Today

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Nederlander Theatre

(4/11/2010 - 6/12/2011)


David Abeles
Took over for Levi Kreis in his absence.
Jerry Lee Lewis (Mar 4, 2011 - Mar 13, 2011)
Hunter Foster
Sam Phillips (May 3, 2011 - ?)
Erik Hayden
Carl Perkins (Mar 15, 2011 - May 1, 2011)
Jerry Lee Lewis
One-night-only encore
(Sep 10, 2010 - Sep 10, 2010)
Rob Lyons
Carl Perkins (May 3, 2011 - Jun 12, 2011)
Jared Mason
Carl Perkins
Jerry Lee Lewis (Mar 15, 2011 - ?)
Victoria Matlock
Dyanne (Mar 15, 2011 - Jun 12, 2011)
James Moye
during Hunter Foster's hiatus
Sam Phillips (Dec 21, 2010 - May 1, 2011)

Understudies: David Abeles (Jerry Lee Lewis), Steve Benoit (Elvis Presley), Christopher Ryan Grant (Sam Phillips), Nicolette Hart (Dyanne), Dan Mills (Carl Perkins), Randy Redd (Jerry Lee Lewis), Billy Woodward (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash).

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