Musical developed in Issaquah earns three Tony nominations

May 4, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 9:52 a.m. May 4, 2010

“Million Dollar Quartet” — a musical about the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll and developed at Village Theatre — has been nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

The musical tells the true story of a chance meeting in December 1956 of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. The legendary entertainers jammed together at the Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tenn.

“Million Dollar Quartet” also received nods for Best Book of a Musical — for the spoken-word storyline of the production — and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for Levi Kreis, the actor who portrays Lewis. Kreis originated the role in Issaquah.

The musical opened at Village Theatre in September 2007. The theater extended the run to 10 weeks to meet demand. Writers Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux developed the show as part of the Village Originals program to foster musicals at the Issaquah theater.

The nomination for “Million Dollar Quarter” follows the triple Tony win last year for another production originated at Village Theatre: “Next to Normal.”

Issaquah native Brian Yorkey — a former Village Theatre associate artistic director and Issaquah High School alumnus — and writing partner Tom Kitt won the Tony for Best Original Score last year. “Next to Normal” also won statuettes for Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress.

The writing duo and “Next to Normal” also earned the Pulitzer Prize for Drama last month.

Other Best Musical nominees include “Fela!” — the story of Nigerian composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti — “Memphis” — about the first white disc jockey to play music by black artists — and “American Idiot” — a rock opera developed from a Green Day album of the same name.

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