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Million Dollar Quartet

The cast of the "Million Dollar Quartet" performing during this year's Tony Awards presentations (Getty Images)

It was December 4th, 1956 when four of the biggest artists is the history of Sun Records in Memphis got together for the first and last time for an impromptu jam session in the Sun studios.  It was Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, but it was more than just a chance get together.  Record executive Sam Phillips arranged it to celebrate what he thought would be Cash’s agreement to a contract extension.

I was able to attend Tuesday night’s premier of the national tour making a stop this week at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.  This show features some incredibly talented musicians and singers that bring the stars to life.  Martin Kaye played Jerry Lee Lewis and I thought he stole the show.  His piano playing was fantastic and you felt you really were watching Jerry Lee Lewis.

The other actor I was especially impressed with was Cody Slaughter as Elvis.  Slaughter has the look, the moves, the gestures, the persona and charisma that Elvis had.  Even the way he held the guitar.

Along with Derek King as Johnny Cash, Lee Ferris as Carl Perkins and Christopher Ryan Grant as Sam Phillips, it’s a 90-minute performance including 23 songs that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

And you’ll likely know all the songs – “Great Ball of Fire”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I Walk the Line”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Whole Lot of Shaking Going On”, “Hound Dog”.  The Associated Press described it as “Musical Fireworks.”  It really is.  It’s already won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.

“Million Dollar Quartet runs thru this Sunday at Shea’s Performing Arts Center including matinees on Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets are available at ticketmaster or the Shea’s Ticket office, 650 Main Street.  There’s more information at sheas.org.

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