Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Four Guys Walk Into a Studio...
Caught the National Tour (bus and truck version) of Million Dollar Quartet at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood last night.
This quintessential juke-box musical (running at a breezy 105 intermissionless minutes) is based on a true-life one-night jam session with Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennesssee in December, 1956.
The show is really at its best in the last twenty minutes when they drop the pretense of a book, the guys don sparkly jackets and for a finale present what is basically a Tribute Concert. They had the audience on their feet, cheering for an encore just like a real rock concert.
(By the way, what's with EVERY show getting a standing ovation these days? Yes, we've all spent money to be there. But do you have to "prove" you've seen something amazing by standing up for the curtain call?)
I felt sorry for Lee Ferris (leeferris.com) in the role of Carl Perkins. I had no idea who Carl Perkins was. (Maybe it's different for those in the audience older than me.) His singing and stage moves were fine -- but I have no sense of if he "was" Carl Perkins or not.
Now Jerry Lee Lewis I remember. Not so much for his records but for his flamboyant TV appearances when I was a kid. And Martin Kaye (martin-k.com) captures the manic intensity perfectly.
Cody Slaughter (codyrayslaughter.com) is an actual Elvis impersonator (I think the PC term is "Tribute Artist.") His performance is not cartoonish and he certainly has the leg and hip movements down.
But the most impressive is Derek Keeling (derek-keeling.com) as Johnny Cash. Boy, you'd recognize that deep, deep voice in an instant. I could listen for hours.
All in all, this show is like cotton candy -- there's not much to it but it's fun and pretty to look at.