‘Million Dollar Quartet’ steps back in time

It just took one day and one amazing twist of fate for four of the music world’s greatest singers to meet for an incredible jam session.

Village Theatre opens its 2007-2008 mainstage season tonight with “Million Dollar Quartet,” a new musical that runs through Nov. 25 at Everett Performing Arts Center.

On Dec. 4, 1956, at Sun Studios in Memphis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley got together for one night of music that made history. This million-dollar quartet and Sam Phillips, who discovered them all, united for an impromptu recording session. The evening unfolded into a collection of rock-n-roll and gospel classics of the ’50s, some of which you’ll remember … “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Who Do You Love,” “Sixteen Tons” and “Fever.” These songs, along with so many more you’ll hear again, are featured in a performance that promises to be almost as good as being a fly on the wall that fateful night.

The loose plot that hinges this story together involves Phillips, who knows his recording stars are on the move and makes plans for a one-of-a-kind recording session. The show is interlaced with several flashbacks, and we watch as Philips experiences the ups and downs of the record business and the highs and lows of success and loss in this rough-and-tumble industry.

The musical director for this production is Chuck Mead, who is the co-founder and leader of three-time Grammy-nominated country band BR549. The band has appeared on “Good Morning America,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brian.” After six acclaimed albums, Mead has begun work on solo recordings and signed a music publishing deal with Ten Ten Music in Nashville. This is his first stint in musical theater.

“The Brand New Kid”: Village Theatre Pied Piper presents Katie Couric’s “The Brand New Kid,” about the pitfalls and pleasures of the second grade.

There are two shows on Sunday at Everett Civic Auditorium.

The show, produced by the Kennedy Center Theatre for Young Audiences on Tour, is a musical based on the book by Couric, anchor for the CBS Evening News.

The musical begins on the first day of second grade. Lazlo is the new kid in school and a typical 7-year-old. But he doesn’t look or speak like the rest of his class. So he is teased and taunted. Things change when popular classmate Ellie McSnelly gets to know Lazlo, plays soccer and spends time with him. Together, the two teach their classmates a valuable lesson: that all of us are a little bit weird and different but there’s always some kind of common ground for friendships to be made.

“Defending the Caveman”: This is one of those instances where the gender differences between men and women couldn’t be more poignant — or hilarious.

“Defending the Caveman” is the longest running solo play in Broadway history. It’s also a worldwide, touring force and has been done in more than 15 languages.

The show is making a stop for a limited engagement tonight and Saturday at McIntyre Hall in Mount Vernon.

This insightful play shows the ways men and women relate — and does it well with lots of humor and lots of “Oh yes” moments. Comedian Rob Becker wrote “Defending the Caveman” over a three-year period and inserted many funny scenarios that celebrate the differences between men and women.

The one man in this one-man show is Isaac Lamb, who was born and raised in Portland, Ore. He’s been in several stage productions and has a continuing involvement teaching and directing teenage theater students with the Young People’s Theatre Project. Lamb graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film production from Loyola Marymount’s School of Film and Television.

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”: Ghost Light Theatricals presents this Tom Stoppard story starting tonight and running for seven days at Chamber Theater in Seattle.

Stoppard’s comedy follows two minor characters from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and is a witty and existentialist look behind the story of Hamlet that examines identity, language and fate.

Ghost Light Theatricals presents classical and classically influenced plays in relevant ways. Their new Web site is at www.ghostlighttheatricals.org.

Seattle Opera Young Artists Program: This affiliate of Seattle Opera will return under the direction of tenor and artistic director Peter Kazaras for two productions of complete one-act operas, performed in English and accompanied by piano.

This double-bill show is Sunday at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The singers will do Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” and Gaetano Donizetti’s “Rita.” Bernstein’s piece focuses on a typical suburban American couple who can’t figure out why their life isn’t as perfect as what they see in the movies. Bernstein, known for the music in “West Side Story” and “Candide,” mixed popular and classical music in this work, along with comedy and tragedy. Donizetti, mostly known for the traditional operas “The Barber of Seville” and “The Elixir of Love,” did this as a true farce opera that concerns Rita, a lady innkeeper who has two husbands, neither of which wants her.

Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program provides training for singers, typically between 22 and 32 years old. Sunday’s performance will be a second homecoming for Marcus Shelton, an Edmonds local and the only Washington native of this year’s young performers. Last year, Shelton, a tenor, showcased his talent when Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program presented a streamlined production of Bizet’s “Carmen.”

“Comedy Underground’s 27th annual Seattle International Comedy Competition”: The comedians are facing elimination in groups of 16. Each comic is allotted five minutes to perform, earning scores from judges, who throw out the lowest one. The remaining points determine the winning five, who continue on to the semifinals, where they compete against the top five comics from preliminary week two.

Week one begins tonight at Edmonds Center for the Arts. Finals will take place in late November.

“The Comedy Addiction Tour”: There’s nothing preachy about these three recovering addicts. Performers Mark Lundholm, Kurtis Matthews and Jesse Joyce put on 90 minutes of irreverent stand-up comedy about addiction, recovery and other universal themes that all can relate to. Their Saturday night show is at ACT Theatre in Seattle.

The three comedians create a story of edgy humor, hilarious anecdotes and universally recognizable situations while also revealing their addictions with poignancy and wit. Their show is laced with laughable moments as they explain what it’s like dealing with addictive behavior and completing the journey to recovery.

Lundholm, who was in a halfway house when he discovered his comedic skills, has been called “a terrific performer — aggressive, funny and charming,” by the Chicago Sun-Times. Matthews started the San Francisco Comedy College and has trained more than 2,000 people to be funny. Joyce got the wake-up call when he was arrested by two New Jersey state troopers who didn’t like it when Joyce threw a lit cigarette at their cruiser while he was driving 80 miles per hour. He has been touring since then with the Rehab Comedy Tour.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Life

Urban treats prove Switzerland is more than its pristine alpine meadows

For interesting art, colorful old towns and serene waterfront settings, be sure to stop in Zürich, Luzern and Lausanne.

ITA Airways lost my luggage. Why won’t it cover my expenses?

Jacqueline Bartolini spends $992 after ITA Airways loses her luggage. It wants to reimburse her for just $733.

Pleasant and progressive, Oslo puts its people first

Every time I come to Norway, I’m fascinated by their experiment in big government, and how little people are bothered by high taxes.

College kids home for the summer? Expect it to be a balancing act for all

They’ve tasted independence and some of the privileges of adulthood. So, how can parents make this an easier transition?

Denise McKenzie, who has been a bartenders at Kuhnle’s Tavern for many years, works behind the bar on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 106 years, Kuhnle’s Tavern in Marysville is closing

Come say farewell Sunday from noon to midnight at the historic bar with five beers on tap and a 50-cent pay phone.

Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Hop on over to Whidbey Island for a garden tour on Saturday, then rock out with local bands in Everett on Saturday night.

Subaru Forester Touring SUV (Photo provided by Subaru)
2025 Subaru Forester Touring

Don’t look now, the 2025 model year vehicles are beginning to hit… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Sapphire indigo clematis

What: A profusion of royal purple flowers burst forth in early summer… Continue reading

Decorative floral violet background from a blooming Nepeta cataria catnip, catswort, catmint with bright bee.
Please pollinators with perennials like hyssop, catmint and cape fuschia

Newer cultivars of perennials simply bloom longer, quenching our cravings for color and extending the benefit to bees.

Mountlake Terrace maintenance crew Ty Burns begins demolishing “the bunkers” on Monday, June 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Eyesore no more: After decades, Mountlake Terrace bunkers bite the dust

The bunkers held a storehouse of history, much of it moldy, outdated and unwanted.

Hitting a homer is hard for most. On this machine, we all have a chance

This restored 1930s Jennings slot machine — with candy prizes for knocking it out of the park — sold for $3,840 at auction.

Airbnb host banned after spilling food in another host’s home

Airbnb bans River Roberts after he accidentally spills food on his host’s sofa. Will he ever be able to book another rental?

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.