If we could time travel, rock-‘n’-roll fans might want to dial their wayback machines to Memphis’ Sun Records, Dec. 4, 1956, when legends Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash created an unforgettable musical session.
Perkins, already a powerhouse with hits like “Blue Suede Shoes,” had booked the studio that day and hired a little-known session player to back him up — a guy named Jerry Lee Lewis.
Jason Cohen plays Lewis in the touring production of Million Dollar Quartet, coming to the Hult Center April 26-27. “All the music is played live by the actors onstage,” Cohen says. “When I got the role, I watched footage of Lewis to learn his tricks.”
Sixty years ago, 21-year-old Elvis Presley happened by the studio, too, with his girlfriend in tow. Cash, signed by Sun as a country artist, also showed up.
The four artists laid down 20 tracks, riffing on each other’s tunes. Someone called the local paper, snapped a photo and the rest, as they say, is history.
Flash-forward to 2006, when the jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet bursts on the scene, landing on Broadway in 2010 and launching worldwide tours soon after.
The show features irresistible hits like “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Hound Dog.”
“If we could have been a fly on the wall during their session, we would have seen a lot of big egos,” Cohen says. “And heard some great music. This is a high-energy show. It’ll make audiences feel like they’re a kid again.”
Million Dollar Quartet plays 7:30 pm Tuesday and Wednesday, April 26-27, at the Hult Center; $33 and up, tickets at Hult Center Box office, 541-682-5000 or by visiting broadwayineugene.com.