Rock ‘n’ roll legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash come together in Million Dollar Quartet, a Broadway musical that will close out the main part of the Performing Arts and Concert Series.
“Goodness gracious,” Athens is getting ready to strap on its “Blue Suede Shoes” to “Walk the Line.”
In the Broadway jukebox musical, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis gather together at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1956 for an impromptu recording session. The show comprises more than 20 of the four icons’ hits, including “Real Wild Child,” “That’s All Right,” “Matchbox” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”
“These four musicians put out hit after hit after hit, and this Broadway musical is a celebration of their hits,” Andrew Holzaepfel, senior associate director of the Campus Involvement Center, said. “It’s rock ‘n’ roll history. … (Students) may … go through the list of song titles and they’re all recognizable whether you know them by heart or you’ve heard them before from your parents.”
In fact, Skip Robinson, who plays Elvis in the tour, said sometimes people “go nuts” just when they hear the titles of the songs.
Sometimes, Robinson added, audience members come in loving one musician, such as Johnny Cash, but go home listening to another, such as Jerry Lee Lewis, because they were moved by that performance.
“We’re a little bit younger and a little bit hungrier than the other (touring) casts,” he said. “(The show is) just high energy.”
Robinson said he was a fan of Elvis before the tour began, but he quickly dove into researching The King’s signature lip sneer and dance moves — one of which he describes as “the windmill move” and another in which he “lands on his toes like a ballerina.”
Though his preference changes every week, Robinson said “Long Tall Sally” is his favorite number to perform because it kicks the show into “high gear.” However, his favorite performance to watch is “Walk the Line” because of the lighting and his place on stage.
“It really reminds me of if I was in the studio at that time,” he said. “It’s a really nice moment to get to take in the whole set.”
This national tour might be Million Dollar Quartet’s final, Robinson said. This final opportunity, mixed with positive feedback from other venues that have hosted the show, prompted Holzaepfel, a Johnny Cash fan, to book the show for Ohio University.
“I think we’ll end on a high note,” Holzaepfel said. “It’s a nice way to bring the official series to a close.”