Enter Stage Write

Theater, Entertainment and Lifestyle in Orange County

The Million Dollar Quartet Holds its Value

The Tony Award-winning musical, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is set on December 4, 1956, when an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together for an impromptu jam session at the Sun Records recording studio, owned by record producer, Sam Phillips.  He was responsible for launching the careers of each icon.  The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.

This touring cast does a remarkable job bringing these music legends to life and gave me the chance to feel like I really saw Cash, Presley, Lewis and Perkins perform. Lee Ferris portrays Perkins just fine, but his guitar playing is what steals the show. That man can play. Martin Kaye personifies Jerry Lee Lewis’ incredibly athletic piano skills and vocal prowess, but the script limits the man to a  buffoonish caricature, which can be true for most of the script. Make no mistake, the music is the star tonight. Derek Keeling portrays Johnny Cash with a deep bass that works perfectly in song, but is too heavy handed during dialogue. Lift the vocal tone up an octave on the words, then Keeling will be spot on with the man in black. Christopher Ryan Grant as Sam Phillips does a fine job moving the storyline along, providing most of the dramatic thrust of the show. The crowning glory of this jukebox road show is Cody Slaughter channeling the handsome young Elvis’ with jaw dropping accuracy and finesse. I could close my eyes and hear Elvis’ smooth vibrato, then open them to witness Elvis come alive on stage.  It’s no wonder Slaughter was named the Presley Enterprises’ Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2011.

The show moves along at a lively pace with no intermission.  It’s more music fest than meaty storyline, so if you’re in the mood for some great music and a glimpse into how rock and roll began, then get down to the Segerstrom Center, cause there’s a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on.


Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

April 24 – May 6, 2012

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

Tickets: Start at $20; tickets go on sale February 26

In person – The Box Office, 600 Town Center Drive,Costa Mesa, CA 92626 – Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily

Online – SCFTA.org

Phone – (714) 556-2787

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