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July 19, 2024

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Studio Tenn’s ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ to Open

See four musical icons — Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins — in Studio Tenn's new theater!

The curtain rises on Studio Tenn’s inaugural season at Turner Theater — its new and permanent performance home at The Factory at Franklin — with a sold-out performance of Million Dollar Quartet on Thu., October 19, 2023. The musical production runs Thursdays – Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays – Sundays at 2 p.m. through October 29.

The theatre company’s 14th season opener recreates an electrifying real-life moment in music history. On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins gathered for one night to play and sing. A reporter who was there wrote, “This quartet could sell a million.” Consequently, they were dubbed the “Million Dollar Quartet.” This was their only collaborative performance, a cultural flashpoint that caught rock ‘n’ roll at the moment of creation.

With performances of 20 chart-topping hits like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “I Walk the Line” and “Hound Dog,” audience members can step inside the greatest jam session ever recorded with four of music’s most iconic names doing what they loved most: expressing life’s joy and sadness through song.

About Studio Tenn’s New Theater

The grand opening of Turner Theater, a multi-million dollar project named in honor of local philanthropist and longtime Studio Tenn supporter Cal Turner, marks the first time in the organization’s 14-year history that all of a season’s performances will take place in one location.

The theater – located adjacent to the Grand Hall and Mojo’s Tacos in The Factory seats 319 patrons. It includes a box office, a lobby named in honor of Studio Tenn supporters Calvin and Marilyn LeHew, dressing rooms, gathering areas and a balcony.

Million Dollar Quartet Cast

Larry Cole (“Cole”) is a Broadway World “Best Actor in A Musical” winner for his portrayal of Elvis in “Million Dollar Quartet.” Cole portrayed the iconic crooner during a four-year run at Harrah’s Casino followed by productions across the country. A recording artist and songwriter, Cole is a member of the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Jefferson McDonald, a three-time Broadway World Award winner and recipient of the Cincy Beat Award for Best Musical-Actor, steps back into the role of legendary pianist, singer and songwriter Jerry Lee Lewis. McDonald performs with big bands across the country with his arrangements of rock ‘n’ roll classics.

Christopher J. Essex stars as Johnny Cash, a role he performed for nearly two years in more than 20 countries. A country music artist and songwriter, his music has been featured in “Taste of Country,” “Entertainment Tonight” and “Medium.”

Christopher Wren has portrayed Carl Perkins in 11 previous productions, including the 2015 – 2016 North American tour. Wren has originated roles in several off-Broadway new works and was a resident company member of the Playing With Reality theater company. Wren also performs with rockabilly tribute acts.

Moot Davis portrays legendary music producer Sam Phillips, who serves as the show’s narrator. A recording artist and songwriter, Davis has more than 26 song placements in film and television, including Crash; The Dukes of Hazzard; Nashville and most recently HBO’s Doom Patrol.

Individual tickets and season ticket packages for Studio Tenn’s 14th season at Turner Theater are now on sale. Student, military, and educator discounts are available. Visit or call 615-541-8200 for more details.



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.