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'Quartet' Worth A Million at Actors' Playhouse

You Don't Need No Psychiatrist or Psychologist...


Roger Martin ATCA

...if you're so down in the dumps there ain't no up. Just trundle on down to Actors' Playhouse and take a ninety minute brain infusion from the stars of “Million Dollar Quartet.” And you read that right, stars, every one of the eight on the stage, one girl, seven guys, who will send you home smiling, singing, whistling, loving even thy neighbor. And his ugly dog.

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It's sweet nostalgia as Sam Phillips recounts the night of December 4, 1956 when Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley meet at Phillips' Sun Studio in Memphis. He's asked them there for business. What he gets is a legendary jam session. And don't you dare leave the theatre when you think the show is over.

“Quartet” was a long running super success when it played at Actors' a couple of years ago. Hence the return this season. And the good news is that this iteration is even better than the first and that was terrific.

Gregg Weiner plays Sam Phillips and he owns the role, the stage, the show. Gosh, he even blows harp. He is the essence of an honest man, thwarted at times, understanding all the time.

Dominique Scott, as Jerry Lee Lewis looking for his first record with Sun, is the epitome of wild child, pushy, plaintive, hilarious and hey look at me, his piano and talent all over the stage. Scott, who's also the music director, won a 2017 Carbonell award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for this role.

Master guitarist Jeremy Sevelovitz is Carl Perkins, looking for another hit, looking to smack Elvis for his stealing of Perkin's original smash, Blue Suede Shoes.

Sky Seal is the reserved, religious, man in black Johnny Cash. Looks like him, sings like him, slings the poses and breaks Sam Phillips heart.

And then there's Corbin Mayer's Elvis, slick, smooth, Hollywood dressed and towing his chick alongside. He's looking to hook up with Sam again, but just not at Sun Records.

The chick, you ask? That's Lindsey Corey, playing Dyanne, a singer. Singer? Her Fever and I Hear You Knocking are highlights in a show that's all highlights.

Drummer David Sonneborn also plays Fluke and bass player Daniel Bailey is also Brother Jay.

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Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux wrote the book and it's essentially a well played frame on which is hung the music and talents of an extraordinary cast, all country wide veterans of “Million Dollar Quartet”.

Director David Arisco's enthusiasm drives this show brilliantly. Gene Seyffer's set and Eric Nelson's lights. Sound by Shaun Mitchell and costumes by Ellis Tillman. And what can I say? This is Actors' and that means production excellence.

Okay, I give in. Here are the musical numbers, from the top:

Blue Suede Shoes, Real Wild Child, Matchbox, Who Do You Love, Folsom Prison Blues, Fever, Memories Are Made of This, That's All Right Mama, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Down by the Riverside, Sixteen Tons, My Babe, Long Tall Sally, Peace in the Valley, I Walk the Line, I Hear You Knocking, Party, Great Balls of Fire, Down by the Riverside (reprise), Hound Dog, Riders in the Sky, See You Later Alligator, Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On.

Remember, I said don't leave early. There's an unbelievable encore that will fry you, broil you, melt you until you scream in ecstasy. And that's no lie.

“Million Dollar Quartet” plays through June 24 at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293 http://www.actorsplayhouse.org

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