In Memphis, Tennessee, on December 4, 1956, history was made at Sun Record Studios. A young musician by the name of Jerry Lee Lewis was in the studio for a session with Carl Perkins. As the day progressed, both Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash stopped by to visit, and legendary producer Sam Phillips herded them all into a jam session.
The recordings that emerged were marketed under the Million Dollar Quarter banner, and rightfully so. Now, that day and that music has been brought back to life with the musical of the same name.
Written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, the jukebox musical first premiered in 2006 at Florida's Seaside Music Theatre. That was followed for the next two years by sold-out productions in Issaquah, Washington, and Everett, Washington.
Also in 2008, Chicago's Goodman Theatre mounted Million Dollar Quartet with Mutrux acting as co-director along with Eric Schaeffer. That staging soon enough moved over to Chicago's Apollo Theater.
Then, in April 2010, Broadway came calling. The Schaeffer-directed piece earned three Tony Award nods for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. Levi Kreis took home the prize for his work as Jerry Lee Lewis.
Following 489 performances, the show ended its run in June of 2011. However, within a month, an Off-Broadway production was up and running at New World Stages with a North American tour scheduled for late 2011. London's West End also mounted a 2011 show at the Noel Coward Theatre with Schaeffer at the helm.
Classic rock songs featured in Million Dollar Quartet include “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Long Tall Sally,” “I Walk the Line,” and many more.