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Where it All Began

Jason Cohen, Christopher Wren, Skip Robinson, and Evan Buckley Harris

For one glorious night, THEY are a Million Dollar Quartet, and WE are the rocker dudes and chicks of our youth.

The show at Broadway Palm re-creates a moment in music history when four men who were superstars before there was such a term got together at the recording studio where it all began. Sun Records was a hole in the wall, but its owner Sam Phillips, played with a swagger by Matthew Scott,  was a genius at spotting talent.

The legendary four are Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.

Lewis is the newcomer whose ego is bigger than he is. Played by Jason Cohen, he is a man/child with suspenders holding his pants up a little too high on his waist. He pounds on the piano relentlessly, legs beneath in perpetual motion.

The target of Lewis’ disdain is Carl Perkins who needs a new hit. Christopher Wren as Perkins is nothing short of brilliant on his guitar.

Evan Buckley Harris as Johnny Cash comes the closest to the sound of the singer he is portraying. This man can hit some unbelievable bass notes.

Finally, as Elvis Presley, Skip Robinson has the twitching leg, hip thrusts, and curled lip down pat.

And let us not forget the contributions of Jackey Good as Elvis’ girlfriend Dyanne. She brings a dose of estrogen to this heavy-testosterone assembly with a sexy version of” Fever” and a hard-hitting “I Hear You Knocking.”

Jody Alan Lee as Perkins’ bass-playing brother and Jon Rossi as drummer “Fluke” Holland hold down the fort and lay down the 4/4 beat at the back of the stage.

The hits come barreling one after another in a pastiche of the 1950s. The amplifiers are cranked up for most of the show, but for my money, two acoustic numbers are the best of the bunch. The voices blend beautifully on “Down by the Riverside” and “Peace in the Valley.”

The four men are frozen in time in a snapshot that is projected on both sides of the stage near the finale. Their music, however, will always be hot.

The show runs through November 21. Call 239.278.4422 for tickets.

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