After over 3,000 performances, the Chicago staple “Million Dollar Quartet” will be leaving the city, so make sure to get one more shake, rattle, and roll in.
You can listen to all those early rock ‘n’ roll hits and learn some of the history behind the artists of those songs at “Million Dollar Quartet.” The musical covers one of music history’s famous jam sessions when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis got together at the infamous Sun Studio to play together. For those who grew up with songs like “Hound Dog,” “Walk the Line,” and “That’s Alright” this play will feel like the 1950s all over again, and those who weren’t raised on these hits will learn what they missed out on.
Perkins was just in the recording studio with Sun Records founder Sam Phillips looking for a new hit. Phillips’ newest prodigy Lewis was hanging around and soon by surprise Presley and Cash showed up. At one point these rock ‘n’ roll greats were discovered by Sam Phillips and became famous recording for Sun Records. However, Presley had already moved on to RCA and Cash and Perkins were also ready to move on to much to Phillips’ dismay. The play covers many of the songs the artist played together that day along with them reminiscing about the good times at Sun and the growing pains.
The music is fantastic and that’s due to the great actors who do their best to embody the icons. They capture Presley’s charisma and slight cheesiness perfectly, Cash’s quiet respect and booming baritone voice, Perkins’ guitar chops, and Lewis’ showmanship, talent, and attitude. For the younger generation they’ll learn that a performance is not just hitting play on a turntable or just performing a song exactly as it is on an album, but an outpouring of passion and soul, which you’ll surely experience with every toe tap and bench kick from Lewis. “Million Dollar Quartet” captures that lightning in a bottle with every show.
Many of us will miss the show when it leaves as it always lived up to our expectations every time we saw it, but we might see the story adapted to the small screen as CMT seems to be attempting to develop it for a show.
Catch “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Apollo Theater located at 2540 N. Lincoln Ave. The last show is Jan. 17, 2016. For tickets and more information visit milliondollarquartetlive.com/chicago.