My friend Alison works for a concierge company that books activities for clueless NYC tourists. Because she spends so much of her day recommending Broadway shows and selling expensive dinners, she’s constantly being wooed by theatres and restaurants. Last week, she let me be wooed with her.
We met at an Upper East Side restaurant for fried hors d’oeuvres that I couldn’t eat because I was trying to play it cool on the calories before my impending trip to Ohio to see my family. (Every time I lose five pounds, my great-aunt, godloveher, likes to hug me and tell me how she and my great-uncle were so worried I’d end up “round-shouldered” and alone.) Afterward, we boarded a shiny new tour bus to take us the twenty blocks down Broadway to the theatre district, and I had to look on as Alison ate a Magnolia Bakery cupcake:
I’m not really up on my Broadway, so I hadn’t heard of Million Dollar Quartet and honestly wasn’t expecting much from it. Especially when the theatre where it was playing, the Nederlander, was one of the tiniest I’ve been in. Of course crap doesn’t make it to Broadway, though, and the size of the theatre made it so that our front-row mezzanine seats were approximately a foot from the stage.
The musical revolves around the night in 1956 when Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis all came together in Memphis to record an impromptu jam session. It’s really a musical for people who don’t like musicals, because it actually makes sense when the actors break into song. And there’s nothing cheesy about the music or lyrics; it feels like you’re at a rock concert, only you don’t have to put up with any deafening 1950s-era Elvis fans.
All of the performances were spot-on, but Johnny Cash blew our minds with how close his voice sounded. And at the end, when I thought, “Okay, this has been nice, but there’s nothing they can do at the end that’ll surprise me,” they totally gave me chills with something as simple as taking a picture. You’ll understand it when you see it. And you should see it.
You should also wait outside after the show like we did and happen to run into Elvis. And when he tells you he’s on his way to dinner like he did with us, remind him to stay away from the fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches lest he die an early death.