What do you get when you get Elvis Presley, Johnny Cast, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins get together for one night only in a Memphis recording studio? In real life you get history being made and in MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET by Lamb’s Players now playing at AVO Playhouse through September 1st you get a rock ‘n’ roll hit musical.
Full of music by the fantastically talented foursome, this show imagines what that night in the recording studio must have been to experience. Sam Phillips (Lance Arthur Smith) is the owner of the Sun Records recording studio and is the audiences guide helpfully providing background as well as current events for context. Jerry Lee (Ben Van Diepen) is the least known at this time, brought in to play the piano for Carl Perkins (Brett Benopwitz ). Then Johnny Cash (Charles Evans Jr. ) stops by, and then Elvis ( Walker Brinskele ) leading to an impromptu jam session that Phillips just happened to record. Elvis also brought a lady friend with him, Dyanne (Katie Sapper) and he would love for the guys to hear her sing as well.
Some drama is manufactured to make the night more climactic than actually occurred, but this is more of an “inspired by a true story” kind of show than a strict historical record.
This talented cast has the chops to pull off these iconic personas and performances. Along with acting and singing, they all play their own instruments as well. Evans is fantastic as Cash, with the right amount of humble gravitas that Cash had in spades. Van Diepen brings a funny and frenzied energy to the piano prodigy Jerry Lee Lewis. Benoeitz shred son the guitar as Perkins, and Brinskele has the look and sound of the Elvis who won over the hearts of millions of teenage girls. Sapper will raise the temp in the room as she sings “Fever.” Smith is charming as the emcee, and driven record producer Phillips.
Directed with plenty of energy by Kerry Meads, set by Mathys Herbert, and costumes by Jemima Dutra, are all complimented by lighting by Nathan Pierson and sound by Patrick Duffy.
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET may have been one historic night, but you have the chance to experience all the music until September 1st at AVO Playhouse in Vista. For ticket and showtime information go to www.lambsplayers.org