|Cast of Million Dollar Quartet on set at Florida Studio Theatre|
The class culminates with a panel discussion with the actors. It's not mandatory for the cast to attend, so the fact they do is indicative of their respect for FST's process. We talked with the MDQ cast for 90 minutes as they shared their journeys both on and off the stage.
|Ben Williams in foreground as Carl Perkins|
"There's so much magic in the show about these icons," he said. "We don't have to be perfect so much as perfectly connected." His comment recalled Sam Phillips' own philosophy of "perfect imperfection."
|Joe Boover as Elvis on vocals|
A lot was said about Jason and FST's approach to the show. Theaters often focus almost exclusively on the music instead of delving into the characters. The result is a cast filled with impersonators rather than actors. FST wants audiences to both enjoy themselves and come away with a better understanding of these young musicians on the cusp of making it big.
|Brandyn Day on piano (literally) as Jerry Lee Lewis|
As the rehearsal process progressed, you could see Brandyn taking a step back as he settled into his still-flamboyant portrayal of Lewis. (Having said this, he cracked the lid of the piano when he jumped on it during the dress rehearsal. Luckily, the piano is bolted down onstage to protect against injury to the performer.)
|Joe Boover and Joe Casey|
I could go on and on sharing what we learned. The set, for instance, was designed after study of the museum which Sun Records has become. A conscious decision was made to include posters promoting black musicians such as BB King to recall their contributions to the music made by the quartet. The checkerboard floor fades to black to facilitate the ability of Sam Phillips to step into the past as he tells how he met each of the singers. The door is painted to appear dirty around the knob where people would have touched it over the years. The attention to detail is impressive.
The bottom line is that the class was a blast and the show is too. "Million Dollar Quartet" runs at Florida Studio Theatre through January 8th. Go see it!