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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Million dollar’ musical to rock Rudder

Four of the world’s most talented musicians — Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins — came together on Dec. 4, 1956 for a recording session that would change and influence music for years to come. 

That historic night was the inspiration for the international, Tony Award-Winning musical, “Million Dollar Quartet,” which will come to Rudder Auditorium this weekend. 

“It was just a monumental night in rock ‘n’ roll history,” said cast member Evan Buckley Harris, who plays Johnny Cash. “Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins just got together to jam. Sam Phillips had previously talked to all of these guys to see if it was possible, but it was actually Carl Perkins’ recording session. And it turned into one big jam night.” 

The musical is centered around Sam Phillips, who is referred to as “the father of rock ‘n’ roll” and was responsible for discovering all four of the musicians. 

“I think the biggest challenge is to make it honest,” Harris said. “To make it, you know, in so many different productions and aspects, they are played as caricatures of the famous name. The biggest challenge is to make it the honest, 1956 version of Johnny [Cash].”

Harris said he and his cast are attempting to give “an interesting dynamic” to the show by portraying the characters as they would have been in reality. 

“We play the accurate version of that person, a little young and dumb, trying to learn the business. Johnny is the older one in the group, so he has to be kind of that stoic, father figure of the production,” Harris said.

Harris said the show will appeal to college students because it is good music. The musical includes 21 hits, such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “I Walk the Line.”

“I think it’s easy to forget about 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll,” Harris said. “It’s very important, considering it’s the basis of all rock ‘n’ roll. The beat is just great too. It’s that driving guitar. All those great tunes are kind of inlaid in the show. It’s hard not to get up and dance.” 

A night often labeled as “the greatest jam session in history” undoubtedly carries some high voltage into the performance, said Harris. 

“It’s just in your face, very high energy. When the audience comes, we expect them to get up and rock and roll,” Harris said. “But we also want you to stay and enjoy  the whole show. There are some slow songs you can sit back and enjoy. But there are definitely ones that get you out of your seat.”

Tickets range from $35 to $105 depending on seating placement, and can be purchased from the MSC Box Office. Student discounts are available. The performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday evenings.

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