Four legends of music on one stage and an entire catalog of hit songs are all contained within the hit musical Million Dollar Quartet.
It documents an historic night in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis, TN when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins gather together for an impromptu jam session. The musical first came to Dayton in June of 2014 and by popular demand it’s returning to town at the Victoria Theatre, April 8 & 9.
The role of the fiery Jerry Lee Lewis is played by Jason Cohen, who enjoys portraying such a dynamic personality. The sharp tongued Lewis creates sparks with both his mouth and fingers from lighting up the piano’s keys with his rhythmic pounding. “”He was a very energetic performer and it’s fun to release all that energy through music,” said Cohen.
Prior to being cast in Million Dollar Quartet, Cohen had little knowledge about Jerry Lee Lewis or any of the artists portrayed in the show. He had never even heard of Perkins, but soon gained a deep appreciation for all of their talents. Cohen took a trip back in time and listened to a lot of music from the fifties and watched some videos of Lewis so he could authentically portray his voice and physical expressions.
Skilled in several instruments, Cohen began playing the piano at 12 years old, and experience has come in handy as Lewis. A graduate of New York University, where he majored in theatre, Cohen is thrilled with the opportunity to focus on his dual passions for music and theatre for one role. “It’s great to be able to blend the theatrical and musical talents in the show, both of which are highly utilized in this production,” he said.
In addition to a love for music, something that Cohen also shares with Lewis is a youthful, care-free attitude that yearns for laughs. The youngest and the newest to the musical scene, Lewis provides much of the show’s comedic relief, which brings Cohen back to his teen years. “I was a class clown in middle school and high school and would push the boundaries with the teachers to get a laugh. It’s good to return back to that attitude through the character,” said Cohen.
At the show’s conclusion, a concert breaks out as each of the Million Dollar Quartet shares some of their biggest hits. It brings the audience to their feet as a euphoric energy is spread throughout the theatre. “It’s fun to see all ages united by the music. We are very fortunate to be part of such an incredible feeling,” said Cohen.
Whether the songs from that era are familiar or new to the audience, Cohen guarantee’s that everyone will be delighted by the sounds and leave dancing in the aisles. The Million Dollar Quartet plays the Victoria Theatre, April 8 & 9.
April 8 & 9, 2016 - The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is back–and this time at the intimate Victoria Theatre!
Inspired by the electrifying true story of the famed recording session where Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” brought together icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for one unforgettable night, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET will have you singing along and dancing in the aisles.
If there was ever a Mt. Rushmore for music; four artists who would be highly considered to be featured would be Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. The four legends all played together just one time for an impromptu jam session at Sun Records, under the direction of record producer Sam Phillips. That magical evening from December of 1956 is brought back to life in the ‘Million Dollar Quartet’. It’s a performance that proves the singers worthy of being carved into our nations history. Don't miss it!
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
Victoria Theatre Association
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