It’s Broadway or bust for ‘Million Dollar Quartet’

September 8, 2009

By Staff

Starring in the 2007 Village Theatre production of ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ are (from left) Rob Lyons (Carl Perkins), Levi Kreis (Jerry Lee Lewis), Dane Stokinger (Elvis Presley), Jessica Skerritt (Dyanne) and Lance Guest (Johnny Cash). By Jay Koh / Village Theatre

Starring in the 2007 Village Theatre production of ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ are (from left) Rob Lyons (Carl Perkins), Levi Kreis (Jerry Lee Lewis), Dane Stokinger (Elvis Presley), Jessica Skerritt (Dyanne) and Lance Guest (Johnny Cash). By Jay Koh / Village Theatre

The Village Theatre Original smash hit “Million Dollar Quartet” is hitting the road again. This time, the cast and crew are packing up their guitars and piano, destined to take Broadway by storm this spring.

The musical is an account of the night four of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest legends — Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash — performed together Dec. 4, 1956, for the first and only time.

“Million Dollar Quartet,” written by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, was presented to local audiences in 2006 during the sixth annual Festival of New Musicals in 2006. In 2007, the show returned as a full-scale production on Village Theatre’s Mainstage. The show was so popular that Village Theatre directors extended its run to 10 weeks.

It wasn’t a wonder, either. During the first performances in Issaquah, Levi Kreis, who played Lewis, took to launching himself over the piano as an act of bravado during the recording session at Sun Studios while working with the “father of rock ‘n’ roll” Sam Phillips.

During one such performance, Kreis tore several muscles in his knee, but never missed a show.

Part jam session, part bull session and chock full classic smoldering rock tunes from the 1950s’ era, like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Peace in the Valley,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Ghost Riders in The Sky” and “Great Balls of Fire,” the show spurred local audiences to dance in the aisles and sing along with the phenomenal cast.

Afterward, the show moved to the Goodman Theatre and the Apollo, in Chicago, where it has been playing since. Audiences can see the production in Chicago through Oct. 26.

Having sufficiently rocked the western seaboard and Midwest, the cast — Lance Guest as Cash, Levi Kreis as Lewis, Rob Lyons as Perkins and Dane Stokinger as Presley — is setting out to rock Broadway this spring.

A theater hasn’t been determined yet.

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