Opened 17 December 2016, Closed 2 January 2017 at the Royal Festival Hall in London
A major revival of the rock'n'roll musical Million Dollar Quartet in London starring Martin Kemp for a strictly limited run of just 24 performances
The electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history.
Inspired by the actual event that took place on 4 December 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions - ever. The session was organised by Sun Records' founder Sam Phillips who brought together four musicians he had discovered over the previous few years. Million Dollar Quartet is the story of that jam session - it's a story of fame, friendship, discovery, divided loyalties, professional jealousy and incredible music as four of the music industry's most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, made music together for the first and only time in their careers. Featuring over 20 classic hit songs including Blue Suede Shoes, I Walk The Line, Hound Dog and Great Balls of Fire.
The cast features Martin Kemp as 'Sam Phillips'. Written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. Directed by Ian Talbot with designs by David Farley and lighting by David Howe. Ian Talbot's London directing credits include the musicals Lend Me A Tenor at the Gielgud Theatre in 2011; High Society at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2005; The Boyfriend at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park 2006 and 2007; and Paint Your Wagon at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park 1996.
Million Dollar Quartet in London at the Royal Festival Hall opened on 17 December 2016 and closed on 2 January 2017
Million Dollar Quartet - 2011
Previewed 8 February 2011, Opened 28 February 2011, Closed 14 January 2012 at the Noel Coward Theatre
Written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux and is staged in London's West End by the original New York Broadway creative team including director Eric Schaeffer with scenic designs by Derek McLane, costume designs by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Howell Binkley and sound by Kai Harada. Originally directed and conceived by Floyd Mutrux. The original cast for Million Dollar Quartet in London featured Michael Malarkey as 'Elvis Presley', Derek Hagen as 'Johnny Cash', Robert Britton Lyons as 'Carl Perkins', Ben Goddard as 'Jerry Lee Lewis', Bill Ward as 'Sam Phillips' and Francesca Jackson. Eric Schaeffer's West End credits include the John Dempsey and Dana Rowe musical The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2000, transferred to Prince of Wales Theatre in 2001.
"If you've seen Jersey Boys or Buddy, you'll know the score. Million Dollar Quartet is another jolly jukebox musical that charts one legendary afternoon in December 1956 when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley gathered in a recording studio in Memphis and made music - and rock 'n' roll history... In the high-voltage encore, the boys don spangled tuxedos and the audience parties, dancing to later numbers including Hound Dog, Riders In the Sky and See You Later Alligator. Formulaic but fun if you like that sort of thing." The Mail on Sunday
"A shade too well-behaved for a musical about rock'n'roll at its birth, this falls back on a safe jukebox formula to lure audiences. Still, the production gives off sparks of pleasure and is competent enough to show them a good time... The performers' sexual wattage could be higher - none of the women in the audience seemed to need defusing - but, to their credit, they sing and play live." The Sunday Times
"To misquote a famous phrase: Elvis has entered the building. And it's not just Elvis. Here we have Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, all recreated on stage in homage to a time when the rock'n'roll revolution was just igniting. Essentially a jukebox musical based around the hits of these music icons this likeable new show is also inspired by a true event... The whole thing throbs with music. Each of the main quartet not only act, sing and play but do a fine job of impersonating, at least vocally, their famous counterparts... As someone once said: It's only rock 'n' roll but I like it." The Daily Express
Born in East Tupelo, Mississippi, Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) was 13 years old when he and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee. After his high school graduation, Elvis took odd jobs working as a movie theater usher and a truck driver for Crown Electric Company. A demo with the Memphis Recording Service helped to propel Presley to stardom, developing a fan following as one of the nation's first rockabilly performers. While his roots were country, Presley was equally versatile in other genres with songs that reflected gospel, blues, ballad and pop styles.
Johnny Cash (1932 - 2003) was one of the most popular country and western singers of the 20th century with a career spanning over fifty years and a repertoire of songs that included folk, gospel, blues, rockabilly, rock and roll and alternative rock. His compassion for the down trodden, the criminal, 'the ones who are held back' was reflected in his tales of crime, persecution, and redemption which he delivered in a deep, gravelly voice filled with conviction.
Carl Lee Perkins (1932 - 1998) was born in Tiptonville, Tennessee, as the son of a poor tenant farmer. Influenced by the southern gospel music that surrounded him, Perkins was playing a guitar his father made from a cigar box, broomstick and baling wire by the time he was seven years of age. Sixteen years later he would convince Sam Phillips of Sun Records to sign him. In 1956, a desperately poor and struggling Perkins wrote the song 'Blue Suede Shoes' on an old potato sack. Produced by Sam Phillips, the record was a massive hit in both the United States and England making it the first record by a Sun label artist to sell a million copies.
Born in 1935, Jerry Lee Lewis was a child prodigy on the piano and played his first nightclub engagement at the age of 13. Lewis approached all of the Nashville record companies hoping for a recording contract without luck. Nashville studios told him they could only sign him if he were to play guitar instead of the piano. After hearing about the small independent studio in Memphis that had launched the career of Elvis Presley, Lewis made the trek to Sun Records. Within a year, Lewis also known by his self-dubbed title 'The Killer', had sold more records than any artist in Sun Records history, including Elvis Presley.
In 1986, Carl Perkins returned to Sun Studios in Memphis, joining Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison on the album 'Class of '55.' The record was a tribute to their early years at Sun and, specifically, the Million Dollar Quartet jam session involving Perkins, Presley, Cash, and Lewis on 4 December 1956.
Million Dollar Quartet in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 8 February 2011, opened on 28 February 2011 and closed on 14 January 2012.