Put another ten million dimes in the jukebox musical, baby. Just when it seemed like this much-maligned Broadway genre was on the outs, here comes the harmlessly rollicking diversion Million Dollar Quartet. Ostensibly set at the famous 1956 Sun Records jam session among the seminal early rockers Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, the show features little of the music that the four actually performed that day; instead, it has each of the stars sing a few of their greatest hits in a what resembles a live extension of the Madame Tussauds museum a block away.
Colorful beads of 1950s rock—including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “I Walk the Line” and “Great Balls of Fire”—are strung on a narrow wire of plot. The target audience appears to be tourists who couldn’t land tickets to Branson, Missouri, much less Jersey Boys, but the performers do pull out the stops. Lance Guest’s subterranean bass is right on the money for Cash, and Robert Britton Lyons and Eddie Clendening form a respectable rockabilly club as Perkins and Presley, respectively. Hunter Foster frets efficiently as Sun king Sam Phillips; Elizabeth Stanley, pretty in pink, adds welcome distaff support as Elvis’s girlfriend. But the night belongs to Levi Kreis, who gives a killer performance as the florid piano showman Jerry Lee Lewis: With the pounding he gives them, it’s a wonder the keys stay on the board. Although Million Dollar Quartet spreads its famous jam thin, it may still make some baby-boomer booties shake in their seats.
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