Former President Bill Clinton and Family Attend Million Dollar Quartet; Jerry Lee Lewis Performs
By Adam Hetrick
Broadway's Million Dollar Quartet had a host of high-profile visitors Sept. 10. In addition to a special encore performance with rock icon Jerry Lee Lewis, the audience at the Nederlander Theatre included former U.S. President Bill Clinton and family.
As previously reported, Lewis, who is one of the characters in the Tony-nominated jukebox musical, was on hand to perform a special encore with the cast following the 8 PM performance. Lewis performed his hit "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."
A representative for Million Dollar Quartet told Playbill.com that President Clinton, his daughter Chelsea and her husband Marc Mezvinsky were in the audience for the Sept. 10 performance. The three went backstage and met with the cast, creative team and Lewis himself. During the chat Clinton also spoke of having seen members of the original quartet (which also included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins) throughout his life, as well has having seen Lewis perform for the first time 43 years ago.
Lewis recently teamed up with Million Dollar Quartet cast member Levi Kreis to record the 1959 song "Money (That's What I Want)." The duet is included on a limited-edition release of Lewis' new album "Mean Old Man." The special edition is sold exclusively at the Nederlander. The regular album was released Sept. 7.
Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Kreis and Rob Lyons, who all appeared in the Chicago cast, re-create their work for Broadway audiences. In addition to Kreis as Lewis, Clendening plays Elvis Presley, Guest is Johnny Cash, and Lyons is Carl Perkins.
Eric Schaeffer staged the musical based on the real-life 1956 recording that the foursome made at Sun Records' studio in Memphis. Million Dollar Quartet has a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux; the latter conceived and originally directed the musical. Million Dollar Quartet opened April 11 at the Nederlander Theatre following an acclaimed Chicago run, where the musical continues to play the Apollo Theater.
The production earned a Best Musical Tony nomination, as well as Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor for Levi Kreis, who won the Tony.
The Broadway cast also features Tony Award nominee Hunter Foster (Little Shop of Horrors, Urinetown, The Producers) as music producer Sam Phillips, and Elizabeth Stanley (Cry-Baby, Company, Xanadu) as Dyanne, a woman who arrives at Sun Records with Elvis on the night of the recording session.
"On Dec. 4, 1956," press notes state, "an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley together. The place was Sun Records' storefront studio in Memphis. The man who made it happen was Sam Phillips, the 'Father of Rock 'n' Roll,' who discovered them all. The four legends-to-be united for the only time in their careers for an impromptu recording that has come to be known as one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time. . . . Million Dollar Quartet captures the infectious spirit, freewheeling excitement and thrilling sounds of a singular moment when four of the music industry's most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, came together for one of the most memorable nights in music history."
The design team for Broadway includes Derek McLane (scenic design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Kai Harada (sound design) and Chuck Mead (musical arrangements and supervision).
For more information visit MillionDollarQuartetLive.
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