FACTS ABOUT MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET:
Opened: Original Broadway Production - April 11, 2010
Million Dollar Quartet Director: Eric Schaeffer
Million Dollar Quartet Music By: Chuck Mead
Million Dollar Quartet Lyrics and Book By: Colin Escott
Theatre: Nederlander Theatre
Tony Award Nominations: 3
Tony Awards Won: 1
Notes: Sun Records owner Sam Phillips, who owned the venue where the Million Dollar Quartet gathered, was quick to call his friend at the Memphis Press-Scimitar to share with the world the news of one of the most epic and unexpected jam sessions in rock 'n' roll history.
For a fleeting moment on Dec. 4, 1956, four of the most prominent names in rock 'n' roll music at that time converged in what has been called one of the greatest jam sessions of all time. While the details have been disputed many times over the years, Carl Perkins and his brother arrived in Memphis, Tenn., to work on a new album with Sun Records. In his search for a piano player, Sun Records owner Sam Phillips decided to call up Jerry Lee Lewis, who could provide some form of piano accompaniment. Unbeknownst to the musicians, Elvis Presley decided to arrive to say hello to his old friend Perkins. After listening to Perkins play in the booth, the famed country singer Johnny Cash showed up and the stars came together for an ad hoc jam session that lasted over three hours that is considered one of the hallowed moments in the history of rock 'n' roll. It was the first and only time that the quartet played with one another, and it is widely considered to be the first "supergroup" ever brought together in modern music.
While the recordings have been lost to history, that singular moment has been resurrected in the form of Million Dollar Quartet, an original musical that takes place over the course of that momentous afternoon of Dec. 4, 1956. After several trial runs on stages all over the U.S., the musical debuted on Broadway on April 11, 2010, and became an overnight smash that struck a chord with audiences that were already enamored with rock 'n' roll musicals like Jersey Boys. The show ran for 489 performances and received Tony Award nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, the latter of which was won by Levi Kreis as Jerry Lee Lewis.
After the runaway success of Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway, the show transitioned to a series of Off-Broadway venues before gearing up for a full-scale national tour. In October 2011, the show hit the national circuit and has since visited dozens of cities all over the U.S. With a brand new cast and the same enthralling hits that made the musical a stellar success on the Broadway scene, the show has garnered thousands of adoring fans and continues to be one of the most successful shows in recent memory on the Broadway and traveling circuit.