The weather outside may not be great for blue suede shoes, but it’s perfect to dance along to “Great Balls of Fire.”
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.” This Chicago staple 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 for those who didn’t they’ll finally get to realize 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. Brandon Bennet, Presley, captures Presley’s charisma and slight cheesiness perfectly; Adam Lee, Cash, has the quiet respect of Cash along with his booming baritone voice; Shaun Whitley, Perkins, definitely has the guitar chops down; and Lance Lipinsky, Lewis and arguably the stand out, has all the showmanship, talent, and attitude that’s ingrained in Lewis. 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.
Catch “Million Dollar Quartet” at the Apollo Theater located at 2540 N. Lincoln Ave. For showtimes and ticket information visit milliondollarquartetlive.com/chicago.