This past Thursday the Toronto Centre for the Arts was transformed into a haven for those who love rock and roll, as the First National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet opened in Toronto. The show tells the story of the legendary jam session which occured on Dec 4, 1956 in record producer Sam Phillips' Sun Records studio in Memphis, Tenn. In attendance where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, and after that night they were forever referred to as the 'Million Dollar Quartet'.
The jukebox musical takes a lot of poetic license as it attempts to tell the story of what happened during that day in history, and the result is a ninety minute rocker of a show guaranteed to please any fan of the four men's music. The book is a collaboration between Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, with direction by Eric Schaeffer, and focuses on providing background on how each of the Million Dollar Quartet came to work with Sam Phillips. The audience receives a few interesting tidbits of information throughout the course of the show, but the plot is fairly thin, instead focusing on the music and allowing it to the be the real star of the show.
And what a star the music is. The pre-show cellphone announcement for Million Dollar Quartet lets us know that 'there's no faking in here', a reference to the fact that everyone in the production is playing their own instruments. Not an easy feat when you consider the complexity of a lot of the material and the fact that they have to sing, dance and act while playing. All four men deserve to be commended for their portrayals of their respective 'idols', and the supporting cast are equally impressive.
While only ninety minutes in length, the show provides a wonderful look back at some of the greatest songs of a certain generation, while reminding the audience of the joy that comes from hearing real, live music. There's no back-up tracks, mixing or pre-recorded elements in Million Dollar Quartet, just raw talent shining through. If you get a chance, head down to The Toronto Centre for the Arts and experience some of the joy that comes from a night of good old fashioned rock and roll.
BWW is thrilled to bring its readers photos from the opening night performance, as well as the special press event where the cast gave members of Toronto's media a sneak peek performance.
Million Dollar Quartet performs at the Toronto Centre for the Arts, now until July 29th, running Tuesday - Saturday at 7:30 and Wed, Sat and Sun at 2PM. Tickets range from $51 to $180 and can be purchased in person at the box office, by phone at 416-644-3665 or online at www.dancaptickets.com.
All photos by Racheal McCaig Photography.