On May 3, Robert Britton Lyons, Million Dollar Quartet's original Carl Perkins, returned home to the Nederlander stage. Lyons is just back from West End, where he originated the role of Perkins in Million Dollar Quartet for London audiences.
An offical "face" of the franchise, Lyons is the longest-running cast member attached to the project along with Lance Guest (Johnny Cash), as a participant in the show's first workshop in Seattle several years ago. Along the way, and has brought the music of Carl Perkins to markets that span from Florida to Chicago, Broadway and London...and he has no plans of saying goodbye to his rockabilly alter-ego anytime soon.
BroadwayWorld caught up with the music man yesterday to talk about the show's evolution from the workspace to the biggest stages on earth, how he really feels about the music of these four legends, and why Million Dollar Quartet will live on.
Since opening on Broadway on April 11, 2010, Million Dollar Quartet has been electrifying audiences night after night. The show has become "virtually unstoppable" (Associated Press - March 18, 2011) with productions playing worldwide. In addition to Broadway, the Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet opened in 2008 and is still playing to packed houses at the Apollo Theatre, a London production opened this year to critical acclaim at the Noël Coward Theatre, and an upcoming national tour will launch next season in Cleveland.
On December 4, 1956, an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley together. The place was Sun Records' storefront studio in Memphis. The man who made it happen was Sam Phillips, the "Father of Rock and Roll," who discovered them all. The four young musicians united for the only time in their careers for an impromptu recording that has come to be known as one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time.
Inspired by the actual event, Million Dollar Quartet features a treasure trove of the greatest rock and roll, gospel, R&B and country hits from these musicians, including such iconic songs as "Blue Suede Shoes," "Fever," "Sixteen Tons," "Who Do You Love?," "Great Balls of Fire," "Riders in the Sky," "I Walk the Line," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." Million Dollar Quartet captures the infectious spirit, freewheeling excitement and thrilling sounds of a singular moment when four of the music industry's most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, came together for one of the most memorable nights in music history.
Million Dollar Quartet is directed by Eric Schaeffer and features a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. The design team for Broadway includes: Derek McLane (scenic design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Kai Harada (sound design) and Chuck Mead (musical arrangements and supervision).
For more information, visit http://milliondollarquartetlive.com.