Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

January 9, 2013

Million Dollar Quartet

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through Janaury 13, 2013
by Eric Sutter

Ironically, Elvis' 78th birthday coincided with the opening night of the Broadway musical "Million Dollar Quartet" at The Bushnell.

Hartford is stung with a smash rock n' roll revival show that re-enacts the date of December 4, 1956 when four alumni of Sun Records met in Sam Phillips Sun Studio for an impromptu jam. All the early rock n' roll moves are presented as the company sings "Blue Suede Shoes." The rock n' roll beat, stand-up bass twirls and swiveled hips bring back the glory of the sound.

Benjamin Goddard plays a "Real Wild Child" as Jerry Lee Lewis who pounds the keys and creates theatrical drama on piano. James Barry as Carl Perkins proves to be an unruly presence with guitar swagger performing snatches of "Matchbox" and "Who Do You Love." A unique Johnny Cash persona is portrayed by David Elkins whose deep bass voice sings hits "Folsom Prison" and "I Walk The Line."

Then there's Elvis. Billy Woodward's Elivis is pure charisma, crooning both softly on "Memories Are Made Of This" and frenzied on "That's All Right Mama." Woodward has the Elvis magic, moves, and mannerisms. The greatness of the young Elvis style is precise. In a quieter moment, he sings the gospel song "Peace In The Valley" in harmony with the entire company.

Putting this "fab four" together is Vince Nappo as an impressive Sam Phillips with his hard driving style and banter.

"Let's Have A Party" really rocks the Bushnell house and lights the fuse for fun. As Carl Perkins cranks out guitar riffs, Elvis swivels and slides to the floor. "Great Balls Of Fire" finds the audience giving into the fun spirit. The piano sounds vibrant with energy that transfers from stage to audience. Elvis sneers "Hound Dog" for smiles galore. Each performer has his turn in the spotlight and together. The show is on fast pace, to say the least. The cast encores with a must see finale of "Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On.