Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 9
From: Hollywood Reporter By: Frank Scheck Publication Date: 04/11/2010
One day in December 1956, four future musical legends -- Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins -- happened to gather together for an impromptu jam session at the Memphis studio of Sun Records. Don't look for "Million Dollar Quartet," the new musical about this fortuitous event, to show what really happened that day. But this wildly entertaining show wonderfully captures the spirit of these seminal figures who would go on to change the course of popular music.
Royality Rocks Out - Score: 9
From: New Jersey Newsroom By: Michael Sommers Publication Date: 04/11/2010
Lovers of old school rock ‘n' roll will get a big bang out of "Million Dollar Quartet," a mighty slick jukebox musical powered by a dynamite song stack and dynamic portrayals of the four legends singing ‘em.
Sounds Like a Million Bucks - Score: 9
From: New York By: Stephanie Zacharek Publication Date: 04/11/2010
Fans of fifties rock and roll tend to love it not just reasonably but feverishly, and with good reason: To listen to the recordings made by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins at Sam Phillips’s Sun Records is to hear the future being born, heralded by jangly guitars, the thump-thump of a stand-up bass, and a piano with the jittery nerves of a brand-new dad. Million Dollar Quartet, a show poised delicately at the halfway point between a musical and a revue, distills that revolutionary spirit and splashes it out as a dazzling, raucous spectacle.
Peter Marks reviews Broadway debut of 'Million Dollar Quartet' - Score: 9
From: Washington Post By: Peter Marks Publication Date: 04/12/2010
The musicianship sells this entertainment. If the rockabilly rhythms of Perkins or the proto-rocker antics of Lewis don't set your heart to palpitating, then "Million Dollar Quartet" will be lost on you. The calculation is that fans of early rock-and-roll and idolaters of Presley and Cash are of an age and economic level to fill the Nederlander's pews. And for them, the musical will feel at times like a throbbing worship service.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 9
From: On Off Broadway By: Matt Windman Publication Date: 04/11/2010
What exactly is it that makes the new musical "Million Dollar Quartet" so damn enjoyable and invigorating? Is it the pure simplicity and rapid-fire energy of four rock 'n' roll legends performing their signature tunes for 100 blissful minutes? Is it the charisma and talent of the actors who portray these legendary figures Whatever the case, it's one hell of a winner.
Over at Sun Records, Whole Lotta Rock History Goin’ On - Score: 8
From: New York Times By: Charles Isherwood Publication Date: 04/12/2010
There’s a lot to like about this relatively scrappy variation on a familiar theme. “Million Dollar Quartet” has a pleasing modesty, taking place as it does on a single afternoon, Dec. 4, 1956, in the rattletrap recording studio of Sun Records in Memphis. Aficionados of the dinosaur days of rock will recognize this date’s momentousness. Mostly by chance, one of the great jam sessions in recording history took place there and then, as Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley all gathered to shoot the breeze, harmonize and strum their guitars or thunder away at the piano keys.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 8
From: NY1 By: Roma Torre Publication Date: 04/15/2010
Conceived by Floyd Mutrux, who wrote the book with Colin Escott, the musical has just enough of a compelling narrative to keep audiences hooked between numbers. The performers impressively flesh out the roles, revealing the early insecurities of the superstars to come.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 8
From: Variety By: Steven Suskin Publication Date: 04/12/2010
Broadway's parade of musicals for people who grew up on rock rather than show tunes continues with "Million Dollar Quartet," which eschews the music of Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim for the sounds of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. By placing the latter gentlemen among the dramatis personae and lacing the proceedings with a fair deal of historical dramatis, authors Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux and director Eric Schaeffer have come up with a crowdpleaser that mixes jukebox and story into a satisfying whole, while the knockout performances keep the joint jumpin' with great balls of fire.
Quartet of Music Legends Rocks 'N' Rolls on B'way - Score: 7
From: Associated Press By: Michael Kuchwara Publication Date: 04/11/2010
Eric Schaeffer, who runs the Signature Theatre in Washington's Virginia suburbs, has staged the show with a minimum of fuss. The book heads toward a glum confrontation between Phillips and several of the singers, who are leaving Sun Records for more lucrative contracts with larger recording labels. Yet the gloom is dispelled quickly when "Million Dollar Quartet" finishes up its curtain calls with high-voltage renditions of "Hound Dog," "Ghost Riders in the Sky," "See You Later Alligator" and the appropriately titled "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On." Of course, they get the cheering audience to its feet.
That's Good Rockin' Tonight - Score: 7
From: Wall Street Journal By: Terry Teachout Publication Date: 04/16/2010
Don't go to "Million Dollar Quartet" looking for great acting. Three members of the front line are not professional actors (Mr. Guest is the ringer), and the book, by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, is tissue-thin. This is the kind of show that goes flat whenever the characters stop singing and start talking. Fortunately, they do plenty of the former and not too terribly much of the latter, and Eric Schaeffer, the director, has staged the show so skillfully as to minimize the thespian shortcomings of its less experienced cast members.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 6
From: Entertainment Weekly By: Clark Collis Publication Date: 04/11/2010
The trouble begins when the singing stops. In many ways, of course, this was also true for these four rock celebrities, who were, in their different ways, rather troubled personalities. You don't get much a sense of that from their banter between songs. Actually, it is only Lewis and Sam Phillips (Hunter Foster) who are given any kind of emotional depth in Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux' script. The writers also struggle to build a narrative around Phillips' plan to re-sign the clearly reluctant Cash for another three-year contract. Those familiar with the 2007 rock biopic spoof Walk Hard — in which John C. Reilly's country star is haunted by the memory of accidentally cutting his brother in half with a machete — may also raise an amused eyebrow when Cash, Presley, and Lewis fall to discussing their respective deceased siblings.
'Million Dollar Quartet' on Broadway: Bright lights, but sound is still pure rock 'n' roll - Score: 6
From: Chicago Tribune By: Chris Jones Publication Date: 04/11/2010
Folks are paying a lot of money and some of them like to know where that money went. But the finale is really about the music. And in this case, the money would have been far better spent on hiring a decent dramatic writer who could have added some subtlety and veracity to a crude book from Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux that still dispenses thudding anecdote, easy trivia and crude linkage instead of the live, credible, complex conversation of a quintet of icons of American rock ‘n’ roll.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 6
From: Time Out New York By: Adam Feldman Publication Date: 04/14/2010
The target audience appears to be tourists who couldn’t land tickets to Branson, Missouri, much less Jersey Boys, but the performers do pull out the stops. Lance Guest’s subterranean bass is right on the money for Cash, and Robert Britton Lyons and Eddie Clendening form a respectable rockabilly club as Perkins and Presley, respectively. Hunter Foster frets efficiently as Sun king Sam Phillips; Elizabeth Stanley, pretty in pink, adds welcome distaff support as Elvis’s girlfriend. But the night belongs to Levi Kreis, who gives a killer performance as the florid piano showman Jerry Lee Lewis: With the pounding he gives them, it’s a wonder the keys stay on the board.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 5
From: Back Stage By: David Sheward Publication Date: 04/11/2010
When the curtain call is the most exciting part of a show, it’s definitely a problem. Such is the case with “Million Dollar Quartet,” the latest attempt to turn pop nostalgia into Broadway box-office gold. Not unlike “Looped,” the now-closed comedy derived from a Tallulah Bankhead story, this jukebox musical attempts to spin a showbiz anecdote about larger-than-life figures at a recording session into a full-blown theatrical experience.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 5
From: New York Daily News By: Joe Dziemianowicz Publication Date: 04/12/2010
A few things are missing from "Million Dollar Quartet," a jukebox musical that'd fit right in on the Vegas Strip: a buffet dinner, slot machines and, more importantly, a story.
Don’t Write Off The Addams Family Just Yet! (scroll down for Million Dollar Quartet) - Score: 5
From: New York Observer By: Jesse Oxfeld Publication Date: 04/13/2010
The only dramatic tension ginned up is that Johnny Cash plans to leave Sun and sign with Columbia, but he can’t bring himself to tell Phillips. Finally, he does, and Phillips is angry. Briefly. Then they have a drink, all is forgiven and it’s time for the finale. The set—the Sun studio, done up in red leather and silver crown moldings, like a hip steakhouse—disappears, and the band rocks through a final five tracks. This, at last, is what you’re here for, and it only took about 90 minutes to arrive.
This 'Million Dollar Quartet' sounds a little off-key - Score: 4
From: USA Today By: Elysa Gardner Publication Date: 04/12/2010
The plot, for anyone who cares, is a truncated, oversimplified retelling of the artists' successes and struggles with Sun, whose legendary founder, Sam Phillips, also is a character. The musicians are relegated to stereotypes: Presley is the gentle but ambitious charmer, Perkins the righteous maverick, Cash the religious family man, Lewis the boastful upstart.
'Million Dollar Quartet' plays a familiar tune - Score: 3
From: Newsday By: Linda Winer Publication Date: 04/12/2010
Really, this is little more than a glorified club act, a concert of terrific formative rock and roll loosely held together with conversational connective tissue and telescoped rock history. Considerable care has clearly been taken to cast more for sound-alikes than look-alikes, and the musicians - especially Levi Kreis as irrepressible newcomer Jerry Lee - convey the raw, rough energy of guys raised dirt-poor and riding a comet to unknowable cultural change...[Sam] Phillips urges on his fine musicians: "My God, this is where the soul of music never dies." Well, perhaps it does turn over in its grave a bit.
Million Dollar Quartet - Score: 3
From: nytheatre.com By: Martin Denton Publication Date: 04/16/2010
Unfortunately, almost the last thing that Million Dollar Quartet feels like is an impromptu jam session. What it is, instead, is a musical drama—albeit one lacking in suspense, since we know before it starts how it will come out—about Sam Phillips, presented here as the founding pioneer of rock & roll, and how the "boys" whom he nurtured to fame one by one abandon him. Interspersed throughout this drama are the songs of the jam session, often played in snippets so that the story can play out literally between verses. (For example, "Great Balls of Fire," the climax of the session in this musical, is interrupted twice by Phillips's soliloquizing.) Because the narrative is constructed so snugly around and within the songs, and because the performances are glitzily polished (as one would indeed expect at a Broadway musical charging $125+ for tickets), spontaneity is pretty much vanquished from the proceedings. And of course spontaneity would seem to be the precise feeling that the creators of this show ought to be going for if they want to re-create the unplanned brilliance of that famous evening.
Elvis, Jerry Lee Rattle Eardrums in Broadway ‘Quartet’ - Score: 2
From: Bloomberg News By: John Simon Publication Date: 04/12/2010
Admittedly no fan of rock ‘n’ roll, I assume that only the most monomaniacal rocker could find the pseudo-musical “Million Dollar Quartet” anything more than a jam session periodically interrupted by desperate attempts to whip up some drama. The amplification to arena volume shoehorned into a mere Broadway theater treats one’s eardrums as percussion instruments.
Forming rock without heat - Score: 2
From: New York Post By: Elisabeth Vincentelli Publication Date: 04/12/2010
The problem is that these four stars are played by journeymen. Only Levi Kreis, as Jerry Lee Lewis, projects any kind of energy. Lance Guest displays an impressive baritone as Cash, but he trips on half his spoken lines. Robert Britton Lyons' Carl Perkins barely registers, even though the character has a chip on his shoulder that could have made for good drama -- if, you know, the show had been remotely interested in drama. Worse of all, Eddie Clendening's Elvis is completely neutered. It's impossible to picture this guy driving millions of women crazy. Even the girlfriend who accompanies him to the studio, Dyanne (Elizabeth Stanley, from "Cry-Baby"), seems vaguely bored.