THEATER REVIEW: “Million Dollar Quartet” @ Unicorn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Macey Levin
On December 4, 1956, in the seedy recording studio of Sun Records in Nashville, Tennessee, four iconic rock and roll musicians met in an improvised jam session. Immortalized by a photograph of Elvis Presley at the piano staring up at Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, this major moment in music history is the inspiration for the rollicking and nostalgic show Million Dollar Quartet currently at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge.
The founder of Sun Records, Sam Phillips (Ben Nordstrom), who discovered and nurtured the four singers, narrates the story of these relationships as he reflects on the development of his recording label. He tells us that after Presley’s (Brycen Katolinsky) initial success “Blue Suede Shoes” which Perkins (Colin Summers) wrote and performed until overshadowed by Presley, he sold Elvis’s contract to RCA records for $40,000 in order to keep Sun from going out of business. A factor in arranging the session that memorable day was to bring the two men together to mend fences; Elvis arrives with his current girl friend Dyanne (Christy Coco). Coincidentally, Lewis (Gabriel Aronson), Phillips’ newest discovery, is present; Cash (Bill Sheets) just happens to be in the neighborhood but with an ulterior motive.