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Million Dollar Quartet 

Max Singer

3-29-12

 

Solid.

 

          I don’t have the best relationship with Johnny Cash. It is kind of like the music of my childhood (mostly because of my mother). I was never that extremely enthusiastic. (Sorry to break it to you this way mom, but I never felt the way you do.) So that is why this music was a bit closer to home, then say, American Idiot.  Million Dollar Quartet chronicles the story of a jam session at Sun Records. Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jeremy Lee Lewis, and Elvis himself played together on that night for the first and only time. Million Dollar Quartet will be playing through April 1st at the State Theatre. The show is listed as 90 minutes long, but ours went longer after a late start. There is no intermission.   

 

          I liked what they did with the music. Though all the artists were similar, early rock and roll musicians, I enjoyed that the songs had variety to them.  The story is not extremely complex or strong, but it was easier to follow than American Idiot. I disliked the order of the last few songs. I believe that they should have ended with a more unified ending. It would also be nice to put the curtain call later in the show, because there was a point where I was wondering, “Is this ending anytime soon?” Not that I disliked the numbers, but they kind of left the audience hanging (or in our case, standing). Otherwise the show was strong, in the sense that there are very few holes to pick and prod at (My usual method).

 

          Though the plot seemed to be a bit too dramatized, I can’t blame them for that. As said by the theatre teacher “You cannot accurately represent real life on stage.” I guess that rings true here. (Like a burning ring of fire?) I understand that there is a point where you have to take artistic license. It makes no sense to reenact history, unless it is a world-changing history. There needs to be some amount of entertainment value to any kind of art, but especially performance art.

 

          The show was pretty tight;. the singing was good, the costumes were fine. I loved when at the end, they got on the instruments—on top of the piano, bass player Carl Perkins playing on top of the standing bass. The show had solid choreography. (Solid- get it?) There wasn’t to much choreography in the first place. The set was cool, but I was kind of disappointed that the tiles from the picture that they show are different from the tiles on the set.

 

          I did not like how the playbill described the jam session. These guys were the superstars of their time, however they don’t have to describe it with the ‘stuff of legend’ attitude.  Needless over dramatization, if you ask me. But that is only a problem with the marketing and the playbill. The musical did a good job portraying their casual attitude, while making it clear that they are all incredibly talented and influential musicians.

 

          I liked it, I guess. I enjoyed the music. I guess I would recommend this show to almost anyone. Like rock and roll music, I think it would appeal to most everyone. (-My little brother was there and he liked it.) “I shot a man in reno- just to watch him die.”-Johnny Cash.

Views: 24

Comment by Emma Dalen on March 29, 2012 at 10:56pm

Very SOLID. It needs more cowbell though. Otherwise good. Nice criticism of the playbill.

Comment by Dudley Voigt on April 16, 2012 at 2:30pm

Great angle on this review - allowing not only for your own connection to this music, but that of your parents generation adds a necessary context to this show.  You also make some interesting points about structure and I enjoyed your exploration of how/why to stage something historical.    Could use a little tightening to be at the 500 word limit, but a great read overall. 

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