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The Berkshires

“Million Dollar Quartet” at Proctors

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Albany/HV: “Million Dollar Quartet” at Proctors
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It's considered one of the most historic days in rock and roll history and now it's an award winning musical production. Our Vince Gallagher caught up the cast of "Million Dollar Quartet" and has more.

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- It was a day where there was a "whole lot of shakin' going on." A chance studio recording that created what's considered the first "super group," Million Dollar Quartet.

"It's a real pleasure for me to be playing Carl Perkins, the guy who most audience members know the least about, so it's a real honor for me to share his music with people,” James Berry said.

On December 4th, 1956, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash all happened to be at Sun Studios in Memphis at the same time. What they created is now the basis for a musical production currently at Proctors Theater in Schenectady. It's part music, part history.

"The great thing about the original recording is that there's a lot of them just chit chatting back and forth, so it really is like a time capsule," said Billy Woodward who portrays Elvis Presley.

One actor is thrilled to be playing Jerry Lee Lewis, especially here in America.

"I'm from Summerset, England which is a small county, so this truly is my dream come true to come and play one of my heroes and get the opportunity to play it in his native country. It's off the scale good," said Ben Goddard.

Seeing Million Dollar Quartet is about as close as you can get to that actually being at Sun Studios on that day in 1956, especially since the songs are all done in the style of the time, right down to the singing and strumming.

Woodward said, "Everything that you hear is happening on stage, so I think that's the one thing that really separates this from a lot of the other shows. There is no pit orchestra, there is no voice track."

While one can enjoy songs like "Hound Dog" and “Blue Suede Shoes," there's also something to be learned about the studio producer, Sam Phillips.

"I think the piece is really a celebration of Sam Phillips in most ways, you learn a lot about him, you learn about Sun Records and where it took off, all the boys he brought up and he had a real talent," said David Elkins who portrays Johnny Cash.

Goddard said, "And anyone who's ever been in a band knows that it's the best thing ever, so it's great, it's the perfect combination of theater and rock and roll."

Million Dollar Quartet plays at Proctors through the weekend.

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