‘Million Dollar Quartet’ rocks Theatre By the Sea stage


Theatre Review by Don Fowler

The Tony-nominated musical takes us back to 1956; to the first and only time Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley ever made music together in the same room.

The story takes place at Sun Records in Memphis where owner Sam Phillips recalls the night all four stars showed up at the studio.

The four characters argue, reveal secrets and finally come together while joining in a couple dozen rock and roll era classics.

The company starts things off with “Blue Suede Shoes” a subject of contention as Carl Perkins resents the fact that Elvis sang “his song” on the Ed Sullivan Show. In the second act, all four join in harmony in “Peace in the Valley.”

Talent wise, Colin Summers leads the pack with his rousing electric guitar playing, sounding the most like his character Carl Perkins.

Wisely, the actors do not try to mimic their characters, but do pick up many of their traits.

Sky Seals – as Johnny Cash – dresses in black and has Cash’s low range down pat, but he does not exactly look or sound like him.

Taylor Isaac Gray has played Jerry Lee Lewis on several national tours, stealing the show several times with his crazy antics and wild piano playing.

Alessandro Viviano plays Elvis. While possessing a good voice, he does not appear to be playing his guitar and bears little resemblance to Elvis.

Elvis shows up with a date (Emma Wilcox) who adds a powerful female voice to the gathering.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is light fare, perfect for a May opening at the summer theatre, especially for those of us who grew up in the fifties and could relate to every song.

The show will be at Theatre By the Sea through June 18. Call 782-8587 for reservations. It was well worth a drive south on a foggy night in Matunuck.


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