Category: Blog

ROCK ON!

In December 1956, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins met at the recording studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. And Million Dollar Quartet, at the Noël Coward Theatre, charts this memorable get-together with 100 minutes of rock’n’roll played and sung by a group of four – plus a few extras.

Bill Ward, as Sam Phillips of Sun Records, keeps the narrative going between songs, and there’s much bantering and wise-cracking among the young stars as they vie with each other for the microphone. But the whole show’s really just an excuse to blast out old favourites such as ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, ‘Down by the Riverside’, ‘Great Balls of Fire’ and ‘Memories Are Made of This’.

Ben Goddard as Jerry Lee Lewis is terrific, if not manic, as he bangs out songs on the piano; Michael Malarkey has a fine voice as Elvis; Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash) has a wonderfully gravelly tone, and is particularly good in ‘Walk the Line’; and Carl Perkins – well, to be honest, I don’t know if Robert Britton Lyons is like him, but he sure can sing (it was Perkins who had the original ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ hit before Elvis ‘stole’ it from him).

Any middle-aged rocker will love the energy and sheer fun of the evening – and this one’s twenty-something nephew thought it ‘awesome’, too.…

MILLION DOLLAR HIT

This musical is finger clickin’ good.

In 1956 four po’ boys from the US Deep South were giving America’s teenagers a first taste of self-expression and rebellion. And for one night only they got together to play.

It really happened. Sun Records’ Sam Phillips had signed newcomers Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. And in loyalty to him, they came back to jam.

Cue 50s hits including Blue Suede ShoesFolsom Prison BluesI Hear You Knocking and Great Balls of Fire.

The award-winning American production team and one of the original New York cast, Robert Britton Lyons as guitar supremo Carl Perkins, are joined by Brits Derek Hagen as Johnny Cash, Michael Malarkey as Elvis and a show-stealing Ben Goddard as Jerry Lee Lewis. They sing and play a storm.

All in all, this is rock ‘n’ roll served sunny side up.…

Awesome phwoarsome

We have had many poppy/rocky tribute evenings in the West End in recent years – too many, or so I thought until Tuesday night at the Noel Coward Theatre, where four sparky lads are recreating a night in the lives of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.

The date is December 4, 1956, and the setting is the small studio of Sun Records at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee.

The company is run by a shrewd, friendly music producer called Sam Phillips (Bill Ward). I don’t know if this will mean much to you, but Mr Ward is a ringer for a Tory backbench MP called David Amess. He delivers a thoughtful, encouraging, proudly independent Phillips.

Sun Kings: Robert Britton Lyons (Perkins), Michael Malarkey (Presley) and Derek Hagen (Cash)

Presley is no longer signed to Sun Records, but he has turned up for a reunion with his former colleagues Cash and Perkins and new boy Lee Lewis, a prodigiously talented pianist and major pain in the backside.

“Boy’s startin’ to grow on you, ain’t he, John?’ Perkins says sarcastically to Cash. ‘Yeah,’ replies Cash. ‘Like a tick on a dog.’

All four musicians owe their careers to Phillips. No wonder the man is hailed at the end as ‘the father of rock and roll’.

Killer: Ben Goddard as piano pounder Jerry Lee Lewis

They have a jam session. The songs, including Blue Suede Shoes, Riders In The Sky, See You Later Alligator and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, are pumped out with amazing verve.

Ben Goddard doesn’t just play Jerry Lee Lewis. He hurls himself into the role – at the same time hammering out notes on the piano like a man with ten rivet-guns for fingers.

His knees and feet keep lifting to the …

THE NEW MUSICAL “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET” TO OPEN AT LONDON’S NOEL COWARD THEATRE ON 28 FEBRUARY 2011

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the award-winning new musical that tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis PresleyJohnny CashCarl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history, will open at London’s Noël Coward Theatre on 28 February 2011 with previews from 8 February 2011. Tickets will go on public sale at 10.00am on 4 December 2010.

Currently playing on Broadway and in Chicago, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is inspired by the actual event that took place on 4 December 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis and features over 20 of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits ever written including: Blue Suede ShoesI Walk The LineFeverGreat Balls of FireHound DogFolsom Prison Blues and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On*

The legendary meeting was masterminded by Sun Records’ founder Sam Phillips, who discovered all four of the musicians, and brought Elvis Presley (and his then girlfriend) back to the recording studio that launched him to stardom. Together with Sun Records’ fast-rising new superstar Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, who was still chasing his next big hit after writing and recording Blue Suede Shoes, the fourth member of this impromptu “quartet” was Phillips’ latest signing, Jerry Lee Lewis.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is a story of fame, friendship, discovery, divided loyalties, professional jealousy and incredible music as four of the music industry’s most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, made music together for the first and only time in their careers.

The production team has undertaken an extensive search of the UK and Ireland – with open auditions in Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, Dublin and London – to find performers to play these iconic …

BOX OFFICE FOR “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET” OPENS SATURDAY 4 DECEMBER

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the award-winning new musical that tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis PresleyJohnny CashCarl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history, will open at London’s Noel Coward Theatre on 28 February 2011 with previews from 8 February 2011. The Box Office opens at 10am this Saturday 4 December – the 54th anniversary of the event that inspired the musical.

Currently playing on Broadway and in Chicago, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is inspired by the event that took place on 4 December 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis and features over 20* of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B and country hits ever written including: Blue Suede ShoesI Walk The LineFeverGreat Balls of FireHound DogFolsom Prison Blues and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. The legendary meeting was masterminded by Sun Records’ founder Sam Phillips, who discovered all four of the musicians, and brought Elvis Presley (and his then girlfriend) back to the recording studio that launched him to stardom. Together with Sun Records’ fast-rising new superstar Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, who was still chasing his next big hit after writing and recording Blue Suede Shoes, the fourth member of this impromptu “quartet” was Phillips’ latest signing, Jerry Lee Lewis.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is a story of fame, friendship, discovery, divided loyalties, professional jealousy and incredible music as four of the music industry’s most extraordinary talents, all in their creative prime, made music together for the first and only time in their careers.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is directed by Eric Schaeffer, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, and was originally directed …

BILL WARD TO STAR AS SAM PHILLIPS IN “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET”

PERFORMANCES BEGIN 8 FEBRUARY AT LONDON’S NOEL COWARD THEATRE

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the new West End musical that tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis PresleyJohnny CashCarl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history, will star Bill Ward as Sam Phillips, the legendary music producer and founder of Sun Records in Memphis and the man who discovered the “Million Dollar Quartet”.

Bill Ward played ‘Charlie Stubbs’ in Coronation Street from 2003-2007, winning 2 British Soap Awards, 2 Inside Soap Awards and multiple award nominations including ‘Best Actor’. His recent theatre roles include ‘Sir Lancelot’ in Monty Python’s Spamalot in the West End; ‘Jimmy Porter’ in Look Back In Anger for Northern Stage; Ibsen’s The Lady From The Sea at the Manchester Royal Exchange and ‘Prospero’ in The Tempest for the Guildford Shakespeare Company. His numerous recent television appearances have included ‘Ruthless Rufus’ in Robin Hood (BBC1); ‘Rob Towler’ in The Bill (ITV1); Doctors (BBC1) and Cold Blood (ITV1).

Currently playing on Broadway and in Chicago, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is inspired by the actual event that took place on 4 December 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis and features over 20* classic hits including: Blue Suede ShoesI Walk The LineHound Dog and Great Balls of Fire.

The legendary meeting was masterminded by Sun Records’ founder Sam Phillips, who discovered all four of the musicians, and brought Elvis Presley (and his then girlfriend) back to the recording studio that launched him to stardom. Together with Sun Records’ fast-rising new superstar Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins, who was still chasing his next big hit after writing and recording Blue Suede Shoes, the fourth member …

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET FULL CAST CONFIRMED!

BEN GODDARD, DEREK HAGEN, FRANCESCA JACKSON, ROBERT BRITTON LYONS AND MICHAEL MALARKEY JOIN BILL WARD IN “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET” PERFORMANCES BEGIN 8 FEBRUARY AT THE NOEL COWARD THEATRE
 

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the new West End musical that tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis PresleyJohnny CashCarl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history, will star Ben Goddard (Jerry Lee Lewis)Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash)Francesca Jackson (Dyanne)Robert Britton Lyons (Carl Perkins) and Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley), joining the previously announced Bill Ward (Sam Phillips).

The full cast is confirmed as: Steven BorJustin Brett (Alternate Johnny Cash), Sharon ClancyMatthew Empson (Jerry Lee Lewis at certain performances), Gez Gerrard (Jay Perkins)Ben Goddard (Jerry Lee Lewis)Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash)Francesca Jackson (Dyanne)Robert Britton Lyons (Carl Perkins)Kevin Mains (Elvis Presley at certain performances), Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley)Adam Riley (Fluke)Oliver Seymour-Marsh (Carl Perkins at certain performances) and Bill Ward (Sam Phillips).

To read more about all cast members CLICK HERE.

Robert Britton Lyons was a member of the original Broadway cast and is appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange programme between American Equity and UK Equity.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET features over 20 classic hits including: Blue Suede ShoesI Walk The LineFeverGreat Balls of FireHound DogFolsom Prison Blues and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is directed by Eric Schaeffer, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, and was originally directed and conceived by Floyd

FIRST LOOK AT “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET” IN REHEARSAL – PICTURES RELEASED

PERFORMANCES BEGIN 8 FEBRUARY AT THE NOËL COWARD THEATRE

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the new West End musical that tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history, will star Ben Goddard (Jerry Lee Lewis), Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash), Francesca Jackson (Dyanne), Robert Britton Lyons (Carl Perkins), Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley) and Bill Ward (Sam Phillips).

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is currently in rehearsal at Pineapple in Covent Garden and today releases pictures by Helen Maybanks.

The company: Steven Bor (Understudy Carl Perkins), Justin Brett (Alternate Johnny Cash), Sharon Clancy (Understudy Dyanne), Matthew Empson (Jerry Lee Lewis at certain performances), Gez Gerrard (Jay Perkins), Ben Goddard (Jerry Lee Lewis), Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash), Francesca Jackson (Dyanne), Robert Britton Lyons (Carl Perkins), Kevin Mains (Elvis Presley at certain performances), Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley), Adam Riley (Fluke), Oliver Seymour-Marsh (Carl Perkins at certain performances) and Bill Ward (Sam Phillips).

Robert Britton Lyons was a member of the original Broadway cast and is appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange programme between American Equity and UK Equity.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET features over 20 classic hits including: Blue Suede ShoesI Walk The LineFeverGreat Balls of FireHound DogFolsom Prison Blues and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is directed by Eric Schaeffer, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, and was originally directed and conceived …

OLIVER SEYMOUR-MARSH TO PLAY CARL PERKINS FROM MONDAY 28 MARCH IN THE NEW HIT WEST END MUSICAL “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET”

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the “feel-good musical with a soundtrack to die for” (The Independent) at London’s Noël Coward Theatre, proudly welcomes Oliver Seymour-Marsh to the role of Carl Perkins from Monday 28 March 2011. Robert Britton Lyons plays his final performance on Saturday 26 March 2011 before returning to the Broadway production in the Spring.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis PresleyJohnny CashCarl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET stars Bill Ward as Sun Records founder Sam PhillipsBen Goddard as Jerry Lee LewisDerek Hagen as Johnny CashFrancesca Jackson as DyanneMichael Malarkey as Elvis Presley and Oliver Seymour-Marsh* as Carl Perkins. *From Monday 28 March 2011.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET features over 20 classic hits including: Blue Suede Shoes, Folsom Prison Blues, Fever, Down By The Riverside, Sixteen Tons, I Walk The Line, I Hear You Knocking, Great Balls Of Fire, Hound Dog and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is directed by Eric Schaeffer, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, and was originally directed and conceived by Floyd Mutrux. The creative team also includes: Derek McLane (scenic design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Kai Harada (sound design) and Chuck Mead (musical arrangements and supervision).

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology, John Gore, Thomas B. McGrath, Joseph Smith and Michael McCabe.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET has been playing at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre since March 2010 and at Chicago’s Apollo Theatre since October 2008. The first North American …

THE NEW SMASH HIT MUSICAL “MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET” EXTENDS BOOKING TO SATURDAY 28 APRIL 2012

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the new smash hit musical that’s winning nightly standing ovations at London’s Noël Coward Theatre, is pleased to announce the addition of a further 6 months of performances. Tickets are now on sale until Saturday 28 April 2012.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET tells the electrifying story of the night in 1956 when Elvis PresleyJohnny CashCarl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis came together to make music and ended up making history.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET stars Bill Ward as Sun Records founder Sam PhillipsBen Goddard as Jerry Lee LewisDerek Hagen as Johnny CashFrancesca Jackson as DyanneMichael Malarkey as Elvis Presley and Oliver Seymour-Marsh as Carl Perkins. At certain performances the role of Jerry Lee Lewis is played by Matthew EmpsonJohnny Cash by Justin Brett and Elvis Presley by Kevin Mains.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET features over 20 classic hits including: Blue Suede Shoes, Folsom Prison Blues, Fever, Down By The Riverside, Sixteen Tons, I Walk The Line, Let’s Have a Party, I Hear You Knocking, Great Balls Of Fire, Hound Dog and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is directed by Eric Schaeffer, with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, and was originally directed and conceived by Floyd Mutrux. The creative team also includes: Derek McLane (Scenic Design), Jane Greenwood (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design) and Chuck Mead (Musical Arrangements and Supervision).

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is produced by Relevant TheatricalsJohn Cossette ProductionsAmerican Pop AnthologyJohn GoreThomas B. McGrathJoseph Smith and Michael McCabe.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET has been playing at Broadway’s Nederlander …