Went to see the Tony-nominated Best Musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET last night, thanks to a co-worker’s extra ticket. It wasn’t a perfect production, but it was enjoyable on the jukebox musical genre level that’s sadly permeated Broadway in recent years.
A semi-fictionalized account based on the iconic photo of Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis (above) during an impromptu recording session one afternoon at Sam Phillips’ Sun studio in 1956, the show’s main saving grace came in the form of singer/songwriter Levi Kreis. In a performance that could have teetered toward cartoonish buffoonery, which would have been easy within the conventional storytelling mechanism of the book AND the fact that he portrayed Jerry Lee Lewis, Kreis infused the show with unabashed energy, charisma and an astonishing musical dexterity. He was a powder keg exploding – his Tony Award was well deserved.