I saw Million Dollar Quartet for the first time last week. And it was good! I mean, there were moments I wanted Hunter Foster to put a sock in it and stop interrupting my rock show, but, that really wasn’t his fault. And that didn’t even ruin anything for me!
Here’s why: I think I’ve discovered the secret to enjoying Million Dollar Quartet and I’m about to share it with you in five neat bullet points.
Check your expectations at the door.
If take your seat in the Nederlander Theater expecting a traditional Broadway Musical— you know, plot, character arc, resolution—you will be disappointed. I mean, we’re talking about a show that, by comparison, makes Hair seem heavy on traditional substance. But. But! If you go in expecting a fun rock concert, with awesome music that’s played really, really well…you’re basically guaranteed a good time.
Two beers at least, I’d say. Or whatever it is that gets you to your happy, just-slightly-buzzed place. I promise the booze will really enhance the experience in every way possible. The boys will be cuter, the music will strike a deeper chord, even the jokes will be funnier. And, to be frank, you’re far less likely to question the material when you’re a drink or two in. You’ll be having too much fun.
Speaking of the material… Ignore Hunter Foster.
I know, I know, we’re so mean to Hunter Foster. It’s not his fault this time, though. He’s working real hard up there, and even doing a good job with what he’s been handed. It’s just…you’re going to get irritated with him several times, because he’s going to be forced to continue to interrupt your rock concert. It’s cute a time or two. By the end, you’re really tired of hearing his story (which might explain why the show’s creators never actually seem to clarify what all happened to Sam Phillips). So, just sip your drink, and keep staring at the cute boys. The interruption will pass, and I’m pretty sure Levi Kreis likes the attention anyway.
And while we’re on the topic of attention: just keep giving it to the cute boys.
This is not just because Levi Kreis likes it. This is because all those cute boys are doing important things up on that stage. Like playing the shit out of their instruments and acting real good. Looking at them is quite a nice experience, obviously. And while it was actually important for a show about Rock Stars to be loaded with compelling cuties, these boys also happen to be real talented. Robert Britton Lyons, especially, gives a sensitive, nuanced portrayal of Carl Perkins and the aforementioned Kreis didn’t win his Featured Actor Tony for this role by accident.
Get ready for some serious spangles.
And I don’t mean that the lone woman on the stage wears a sparkly costume—though her period-appropriate-down-to-the-undergarments costume is pretty great. No, I mean, brace yourself for four overly bedazzled jackets to literally drop from the sky at the end of the educational portion of this musical. When Johnny, Carl, Elvis and Jerry slip on these badass rejects from an N*Sync tour circa 2000, the real fun starts. Now it’s just a concert, no pretense of anything else, and Elvis is about to fall to his knees and make the girls in the front row scream. Prepare yourself for this, because it is awesome. You may even want to scream along.
Photo: Joan Marcus