Friday, November 9, 2012

Broward Center: Million Dollar Quartet (reviews)

The national tour of Million Dollar Quartet opened at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts  on November 6, 2012.
Direct from Broadway MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is the new smash-hit musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians gathered at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever.
Eric Schaeffer directed a cast that featured Scott Moreau, Lee Ferris, Martin Kaye, and Cody Slaughter.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
...on the stage at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts this week and next, it’s Dec. 4, 1956. Four music greats are singing again. And like just about everyone in the audience, the man who launched those golden careers is thrilling to the sound of that once-in-a-lifetime quartet.
...Cody Slaughter... looks and sounds like the reincarnation of the young, hot Elvis.
Bass player Chuck Zayas and drummer Billy Shaffer are key contributors to the sound created by the four singers, but the stars deliver the goods: As we’re told at the top of the show, “Ain’t no fakin’ – these boys are really playin’.”
Christopher Ryan Grant, whose Phillips also serves as the show’s reminiscing narrator, gets to fume and dither as the famous man’s plans to re-sign Cash and maybe work with Presley again go awry... As Dyanne... sultry Kelly Lamont is given a look based on the famous photo of the gal Elvis put the moves on in a theater stairwell... Lamont’s performance is just fine, but when a show boasts stars who sound like Lewis, Perkins, Cash and Presley, Dyanne’s numbers feel like the filler they are.
The real joy in The Million Dollar Quartet lies in watching and listening as those “boys” work their magic, separately and together. Kaye (who happens to be British) is a wild and wildly self-confident young man as he pounds the piano and sings the Lewis hits...  Moreau is taciturn and musically impressive as the man in black. And Slaughter, whose program bio reveals he was named the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist of 2011 by Elvis Presley Enterprises, does early-vintage, hip-swiveling Presley proud
The Million Dollar Quartet doesn’t soar to the heights of Jersey Boys, still the best of the jukebox musicals. Yet though Million Dollar plays with the particular truths of a legendary session, the show’s musical pleasures are quite real, abundant and enjoyable.
Mary Damiano reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
The ensemble does a stunning job of capturing the musical essence of Elvis, Cash, Perkins and Lewis. Lee Ferris wears Carl Perkins’ trademark blue suede shoes, the most famous footwear in music.  Ferris portrays Perkins, probably the least well known of the group, as an angry young man anxious to reclaim his fame, and gets the crowd going with hits like “Who Do You Love?”
Scott Moreau, wearing Johnny Cash’s traditional black garb, is gifted with a deep rich voice perfect for Cash classics such as “Folsom Prison Blues.”  Martin Kaye sports Jerry Lee Lewis’s curly blond pompadour, and portrays the killer piano player as a boastful man of faith conflicted by his love of what he calls the devil’s music.  Kaye rocks the house with the Killer’s classic “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

Cody Slaughter, who plays Elvis Presley, probably has the hardest job, portraying a man whose every sneer has been documented.  Slaughter delivers Elvis’s swagger, his passion and also his vulnerability, doing the king proud with his rendition of “That’s All Right” and “Hound Dog.”

Christopher Ryan Grant is excellent as Sam Phillips, the father figure with an uncanny ear for talent.  Grant is the driving force of Million Dollar Quartet...
Million Dollar Quartet plays at the Broward Center through November 18, 2012.

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