It’s a tidy, if unpleasant, demise for “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s.
The musical based on the happenstance jam session of Dec. 4,1956, bringing together Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins at Sam Phillips’ Records in Memphis, will close Dec. 4, 2016 – 60 years to the day after that famous event.
The show opened in February 2013 and featured a talented cast of actors and musicians who played their own instruments onstage. Those in the current company include original cast members Rob Lyons (Carl Perkins), Martin Kaye (Jerry Lee Lewis) and Marc Donovan ( Sam Phillips). Elvis has been most recently portrayed by Justin Shandor (winner of the 2010 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition in Memphis), and Scott Moreau has played Johnny Cash. Victoria Matlock is Dyanne, Elvis’ lady friend who was also in the studio that legendary night.
The cast was informed Monday night of the decision. Ticket sales were always a concern for “MDQ,” and in August salaries were trimmed to help save costs. The show was rumored to be in peril through much of 2015, when Caesars Entertainment officials were courting Human Nature to reopen at Harrah’s as that act was shopping its “Jukebox” show to various properties. But Human Nature wound up extending its run at the Venetian.
There is no announcement of what is planned at the Harrah’s Showroom, though reportedly the cast was told the venue would be going in a “different direction.” Currently, the Righteous Brothers are holding down the 6 p.m. time slot through December.
“I’m obviously disappointed,” said Lyons, who joined “MDQ’s” original company in Chicago in 2008. “‘MDQ’ is so well-loved by so many people and it’s just too bad that no one will be able to experience the show in Vegas after Dec. 4.”
Kaye, who’s been shopping a solo autobiographical show titled “Odd Socks” around town for several months, shared Lyons’ sentiments.
“I’m obviously, massively gutted, but the positive is that we had an incredible run, longer than any of us really expected,” Kaye said. “I’m incredibly grateful for what ‘MDQ’ has brought me, more than I could have ever wished for.” Kaye is currently part of the show’s U.K. tour.
The end of “MDQ”’s run is the latest in a spate of show closings in Las Vegas, particularly productions of Base Entertainment, this year. This week, the Base production “Puppet Up! Uncensored” announced it would close after Saturday’s show at the Venetian’s Sands Showroom.
Two promising productions at Planet Hollywood Showroom, headlined by Vegas singer/songwriter Frankie Moreno and “America’s Got Talent” champion ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, have closed since July. . The long-running “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas, “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding,” at Windows Showroom at Bally’s and the comedy showcase Sin City Comedy & Burlesque at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood have also announced closings this month.
John Katsilometes’ column runs Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.