When the curtain falls on the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet on December 4, 2019, it will signify two things. The first is the 63rd anniversary of the impromptu, once in a lifetime event, that’s the shows focal point. The second is the end of a spectacular five year run of the show in Branson. If you haven’t yet seen this show in Branson, or want to see it again, don’t miss this final opportunity to do so.
On December 4, 1956, an impromptu, spur of the moment, jam session by four young recording superstars to-be, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, took place inside the recording studio of Sun Records in Memphis, TN. Except for a single newspaper article, the next day, in the “Memphis Press-Scimitar,” with its accompanying photo, dubbing the four the “The Million Dollar Quartet,” the jam session was forgotten.
While not intended to be recorded, unknown to the four, the session had been recorded and put in the Sun Records library, where it lay for decades. Subsequent owners of Sun Records discovered the recordings. Recognizing their artistic and historical significance to the history of rock n’ roll, selected tracks were released in an album entitled “Million Dollar Quartet” in 1981. This jam session and the resulting album became the inspiration for the Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet. The show shares the music, spontaneity, and drama of what took place that 1956 December day when those four legends played together for their first and only time.
The Branson production of the Million Dollar Quartet weaves an outstanding cast, an excellent story, beautiful sets, and classic rock n’ roll music into a fantastic entertainment experience. Musically, the four superstars represented in the lead roles, plus the iconic songs, require some exceptionally talented entertainers, and this show has them.
The show is replete with familiar rock n’ roll hits, some of which are sure to be your favorites. Two of my favorite musical highlights are “Ghost Riders In The Sky,” sung by Johnny Cash| and “Peace in the Valley,” not merely because| of the music but how personal memories from each of the superstars tied into the performance. It was a special moment.
As beautiful as the music is, it’s the storyline and the musical tapestry encompassing it, which makes this such an entertaining show. Matt Joyce, as Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records and the man many call the “Father of rock n’ roll,” does a superb job of telling the entire story. He tells it in a way that ties its diverse parts together and holds the audience’s attention. The story is a mixture of historical facts and fiction about what occurred that day. It describes the relationship between the celebrities themselves, the mechanics of how record companies worked in those early decades, and the beginning history of the evolution of rock n’ roll history. It explains why Phillips sold Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA for $40,000 in 1955; the bad feelings Carl Perkins had towards Elvis Presley involving their “mutual hit,” “Blue Suede Shoes”; and much more. Seeing Jerry Lee Lewis, the not so shy rookie in the group, evolve is as intriguing as it is entertaining.
From start to end, it’s nonstop music, fun, drama, and entertainment with no intermission. Oh, and when you feel the show is over, there is a surprise finale providing a grand ending that could have you dancing in the aisles.
For scheduling information or tickets for the Million Dollar Quartet, please contact Branson.Com either by telephone or through their website, www.Branson.Com.