This musical, based on that one amazing night at Sun Records in which Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins were in the same room jamming out, requires a huge amount of talent and energy. The show now playing at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora has that in spades, with an infectious soundtrack that won’t quit.
“Million Dollar Quartet” is now playing through October 29. If you’re looking for an exuberant musical evening that hearkens back to the birth of rock’n’roll, this might be the show for you.
Honestly, the plot’s a bit sparse, and that’s no big deal. And the actual events of the evening aren’t exactly as they happened in real life, and that’s okay too. After all, the music and the personalities are the draw here. The famous Million Dollar Quartet jam session took place in Memphis, Tennessee in 1956, and became a legendary event. It was immortalized by Chicago’s Goodman Theatre from 2008-2016, during the original run of an incredibly fun show.
This new production is now making waves in the suburbs, and it’s fantastic. No matter how you feel about the musicians and their real-life antics, you can’t deny their influence on music, and the magic of this one night.
The cast of “Million Dollar Quartet” is impressive, as it has to be for a show of this nature. After all, there’s no orchestra pit – just eight performers who play, sing, and act on stage for the entire two hours. The actors, according to their bios, come from diverse performance traditions, and that’s as it should be.
Adam Wesley Brown, playing Carl Perkins, comes from a Shakespearean background. Kavan Hashemian, playing Elvis Presley, has apparently been rocking the impersonator status since he was three. Billy Scott Sheets, as Johnny Cash, has an operatic background and a great range, which he uses to good effect. Gavin Rohrer plays the piano the way you think Jerry Lee would have done it, and it’s hard to take your eyes off of the keys.
The cast also includes Courtney Mack as Dyanne, a fictional version of Elvis Presley’s girlfriend at the time, because there has to be a role for a woman in this thing; Zach Lentino as Brother Jay, playing the bass with skill; Scott Simon as Fluke, on the drums. Rounding out the group is Nicholas Harazin, who plays Sam Phillips, the man behind Sun Records.
By the end of the show, you’ll be standing and rocking out with the rest of the audience. And probably you’ll be a row in front of the people who were singing along the whole time anyway.
Come out to the far western suburbs for “Million Dollar Quartet,” and bring the whole family – you’ll all love it! For tickets and information about the beautiful Paramount Theatre, visit paramountaurora.com.
Here’s a sneak video preview: