In December 1956, Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records and now known as the “father of rock ‘n’ roll,” brought together four pioneers in the industry—Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley—in his recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet tells the story of that one entertaining night that went down in history. Flat Rock Playhouse will kick off this year’s mainstage season with performances April 28 through May 21.
Carl Perkins happened to be recording at Sun Studio with Sam when Elvis stopped by. Jerry Lee Lewis was at the studio as well. Johnny lived just outside of Memphis, and Sam let him know that Elvis was in town and that he should come, too.
The four performers recorded new versions of well known rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B, and country hits, such as “Blue Suede Shoes, “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog,” and “Who Do You Love?” The show debuted at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre in 2008 before moving to The Apollo and later Broadway. This production features Nat Zegree as Jerry Lee Lewis, Jeremy Sevelovitz as Carl Perkins, Johnny Kinnaird as Johnny Cash, and Chris Fordinal as Elvis Presley.
The show will be directed by James Moye, based in New York, who played Sam Phillips in the Broadway version.
“I hope the audience gets a very good feel for these four guys, but it is a feel for who they were in 1956,” James told The Laurel.
“One of the best things about this show is getting to meet these guys at the beginning of their respective journeys. Even though we know how the story unfolds, it’s nice to get a peak behind the curtain as it begins.”
Flat Rock Playhouse Mainstage is located at 2661 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock. Tickets ($15–40) can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the box office at 828.693.0731 or visiting flatrockplayhouse.org.