Million Dollar Quartet – Review by Bonnie Goldberg


Sam Phillips of Sun Records has been deemed the Father of Rock and Rock. He earned that title honestly by discovering and shepherding the careers of four unknowns and making them mega-watt stars. Maybe you’ve heard of them: Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. Back on December 4, 1956, each of these sensations dropped in to see Sam and what happened in that studio became rock and roll history. A jam session like no other took place in Memphis, Tennessee and it was recorded for posterity. The happy result is “Million Dollar Quartet” with book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, with original concepts and direction by Floyd Mutrux and Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury is raising its rafters until Sunday, November 26 to bring you this startling singing sensation.

Prepare to hear the house ring with some of your favorite hits like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hound Dog,” Folsom Prison Blues,” “Memories Are Made of This,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Let’s Have A Party,” “See You Later, Alligator” and “Whole Lotta Shakin.” Guitars electrify the stage as they strum out the devil’s own music. The studio that was once an auto parts shop is now the breeding ground for the revolution that is rock and roll.

Sam Phillips has taken his “boys” and made them the macho fabric of a new musical sound. He took a chance with them and now, at the tail end of 1956, they are each ready to walk the line out the door of Sun Records, all except his newest stallion Jerry Lee Lewis, a crazy and uncontrollable sass and steam Louisiana boy, captured in all his upstart style by Dominique Scott, pi-an-o man extraordinaire.

Jason Loughlin’s Sam Phillips is a good ole boy himself who prides himself on his good ear to recognize the next best stars in his personal firmament. To date, he has discovered Cole’s Elvis, Jeremy Sevelovitz’s Carl Perkins and Sky Seals’ Johnny Cash. Each is a genuine winner in this rarefied world, which marks the undisputedly best era of music known to man or woman. When Elvis walks in, he has his current squeeze Dyanne on his arm, a gifted Teresa Danskey, who can belt out a song like nobody’s business. Completing the cast are Perry Organelle on bass and Mark Ryan on drums.

These are all exceptional musicians who can also act and command the stage. You will be exhausted and exhilarated at the same time, as you are swept away in this era of monumental memories. Seminar DeLaurentis goes all out in this masterful concert to ensure authenticity and true fervor. When these men got together for that one concert, on that one memorable day, like old friends, without rehearsals or a formal plan, Cowboy Jack Clement, the studio engineer, was smart enough to record it.

Rockabilly, rock and roll and country music merge and marry as these great guys sing for the pure pleasure of the sound. Along the way, we learn a little of their down home history and how Sam made them each a son. For tickets ($45-60), call Seven Angels Theatre, 1 Plank Road, Waterbury at 203-757-4676 or online at Performances are Thursday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Hips will swivel, guitar strings will be set aflame and history will be recorded when an impromptu jam session become an instant legend making event. Prepare to levitate right out of your seat as this quartet of wild men shake, rattle and roll, move and groove, and enter a special hall of fame. Memories are truly made of this.