Million Dollar Quartet at the Playhouse is manic, magnificent and a must-see – oh what a night!

Written by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

When you can’t decide which of the actors on stage thrilled you most – and here I’m talking not just about the four men who portray famous singers in this performance, but the star turns also by Tiffan Borelli as Elvis’s girlfriend, Hugh Hysell in the grounding role of recording studio owner Sam Phillips, and acrobatic upright bass player (well, the bass is upright, but not always the musician), Bill Morey – then you know the performance has been one for the ages.

Each of the four stars is terrific in his own way in Million Dollar Quartet, which makes for a spellbinding, not to mention hip- and inhibition-loosening experience at the Playhouse. 

million dollar bass

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Photo by Ed Krieger

The upright bass (and sometimes upside-down) player played by Bill Morey steals the show at certain moments

The smash-hit musical tells the story of legendary music icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins when they came together on December 4, 1956 at the famous Sun Studios. 

Daniel Durston as Elvis (now there’s a challenge, given the iconography associated with the King of Rock ‘n Roll); Austin Honke as the sometimes forgotten Carl Perkins, who was the first to top the charts with Blue Suede Shoes; Billy Rude as the frenetic and talented Jerry Lee Lewis; and Peter Oyloe as smooth, black-clad growler Johnny Cash are similar in height and physiques. Yet from the moment the performance begins, you know exactly which musician each is portraying. 

million dollar elvis

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Photo by Ed Krieger

Elvis (Daniel Durston) swizzles and sizzles

Some may quibble with my belief that each performer was equally powerful, given the terrific performance by the flexible and funny Billy Rude as Jerry Lee Lewis – and my husband loved Peter Oyloe as Johnny Cash in particular – but as always, opinions on creative work are subjective. 

That’s one of the beauties of this show: most of us of a certain age bring a mental hold-all of memories along with us when we hear the names of these million-dollar musicians – and we all have individual reasons to feel our hearts beating and our bodies moving as we vicariously bear witness to this once-in-a-lifetime evening: one that actually happened.

million dollar jerry

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Photo by Ed Krieger

High-flying Jerry Lee Lewis (Billy Rude)

The opening night audience rocked & rolled with the performers, cheering, whistling and applauding all the way through – it was a loud, fun, cathartic evening, one we all desperately need in these gloomy times. 

So – what are you waiting for? See and hear for yourself! Visit www.lagunaplayhouse.org right now to get your tickets or call the box office at (949) 497-2787.

Million Dollar Quartet opened on Sunday, July 8 at 6 p.m. The show will run through Sunday, July 29. Performances will be Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. There will no performance on Thursday, July 12 at 2 p.m. or Sunday, July 29 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $75 - $105.

The season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family.