By Jerry Holmes
What started out to be a regular recording session at Sun Records turned into one of the most exciting musical events of the young rock and roll era. On that December 4, 1956 afternoon Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records, had hired backup musicians for the newly established country singer Carl Perkins. In that group was an up and coming star pianist-singer-rocker named Jerry Lee Lewis.
As the afternoon went on, Elvis Presley, with a girlfriend, stops by for a visit, followed by Johnny Cash, all budding artists who had recorded for Sun Records. And what do musicians do when they get together — play and sing, well, some other things too, but we are interested in the playing and singing. Luckily the recording engineer kept the tape running to capture this magical moment in music history. Phillips called a reporter friend to come over, and it was supposedly that reporter’s enthusiasm for this group’s performance “that could sell a million” that turned it into “The Million Dollar Quartet.” At least, that’s how the story goes.
In 2006 “The Million Dollar Quartet” as a staged musical made its first appearances in regional theatres across the country, slowly making its way to Broadway in 2010 for a good run, followed by a successful London appearance. Audiences raved at having a “ring side seat” for one of the most memorable afternoons in rock and roll ending with one of the biggest musical flourishes imaginable.
Strauss’ production will introduce a number of new artists to our stage – a group of talented professionals recruited by director Josh Madden — to bring the legendary performers to life one more time. Strauss is excited to have Josh return to its stage after the masterful job he did as the “errant brother” in Smoke of the Mountain. And to have him draw on his wide knowledge of talent in the area is quite exciting. In addition to seeing the show live at the Kiroli Bandstand, Strauss members will be able to stream a live performance. Call Donna at Strauss at 318-323-6681 for more information.