Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting up with the cast from Million Dollar Quartet and interviewing them at the Johnny Cash Museum in downtown Nashville. The talented foursome gave me a some insight into prepping for their roles and filling some very big shoes, but before I share our little chat I should give you a quick rundown of the Broadway show and the true story of this very famous foursome.
The actual event happened on December 4, 1956 in at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Carl Perkins went to the studio to recorded some new music. Jerry Lee Lewis (very new artist at the time) was brought into the studio to play piano for Perkins. Then, Elvis just happened to stop by the studio for a visit. Finally, Johnny Cash shows up and the fours of them hit it off and have an impromptu jam session. They recorded several tracks and the local paper published an article about the whole accidental get-together under the title “Million Dollar Quartet”. 50 some odd years later this phenomenal jam sesh was turned into a hit-musical. The musical takes the audience back in time and gives them a “fly on the wall” perspective to the once in a lifetime gathering.
The 4 main characters, John Countryman, James Barry, Cody Ray Slaughter and Scott Moureau, were nice enough to chat with me about their roles as these iconic country singers and what it’s like to perform for the first time in music city.
Me: Since you are currently performing in Tennessee have you been able to get out, sight-see, visit some of the historical sights of the very characters you are playing?
Scott (Johnny Cash): Yesterday, I took James here on a little “Johnny Cash pilgrimage” We paid our respects at Johnny and June’s grave sights. We went to Johnny Cash’s house, the Ryman auditorium and are now at the Johnny Cash Museum.
John (Jerry Lee Lewis): I took my wife to the Country Music Hall of Fame where they actually had a little “Million Dollar Quartet” section. While I was looking at it, a man came up to me and said,”You ought to go see the show. It’s here right now!” and I was like “funny you should say that…”
Me: How did you prepare for these roles?
James (Carl Perkins): There’s a wealth of information on YouTube these days, as well as books and everything else.
Scott: I’m kind of an obsessive fan. (insert sarcastic looks of shock from his cast members) It’s not just one thing for me. It’s everything. Every song, book or whatever is available. I’ve read everything.
Cody (Elvis): (sarcastically) I’ve had a lot of plastic surgery.
Me: Do you get that a lot? (He looks EXACTLY like Elvis.)
Cody: Oh yeah, and I always give them different answers.
Me. What makes this show such a success?
James: You get a glimpse at the real people behind the icons.
Cody: If you love music, any music, then you’re going to love this how. This unplanned gathering is non-c0mparable. Nothing like this can ever happen again, not without a plan and publicist.
Scott: It tells a story that most people don’t know. You may know Elvis, you may know Johnny Cash, but you probably don’t know the story of the Million Dollar Quartet.
Million Dollar Quartet will be playing at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center until May 11th. They will continue touring the nation as well, so check out their tour dates here. Huge thanks to the stars for taking the time out to give us some insight into this special musical.