December 18, 2014
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Coming to PPAC: Elvis, Jerry Lee, Carl & Johnny
Don Fowler

“Million Dollar Quartet” comes to the Providence Performing Arts Center on the heels of the fabulous “Jekyll and Hyde” January 15-20. While “Jekyll and Hyde” is on its way to Broadway, the Tony award-winning “Million Dollar Quartet” is still on Broadway, with another great cast bringing the musical across the country.

I spoke with Billy Woodward, who was in the Broadway production and is now traveling with the show as Elvis.

“We’re in our second of three weeks at the Eisenhower Theatre in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., right near my home in Maryland,” Billy said, “so I’m getting a chance to catch up with old friends. I even did a gig with my band on our night off.”

Woodward is the lead singer and songwriter for Billy Woodward and the Senders, a popular rock band that has cut a number of albums and gets together “every time I have a break.”

Billy was performing in an annual benefit in Baltimore called “The Night of 100 Elvises.” The show had sent a casting director to check it out, liked Billy’s style and called him for an audition. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I was on my last day as an art director for a local animation company and had decided to try something new when I got the call,” he said. “I decided to give it a try and see what happens, and I got the role. It was my first time on Broadway, and I loved it.”

Now he’s on the road, traveling with his girlfriend, who is with the merchandise part of the production.

“She’s a photographer, and we both like to wander around the cities we visit taking photos.”

They have never been in Rhode Island, so when I told him about the RISD museum, he made sure it was on the top of his list.

“I love this show,” he said. “I get a chance to show Elvis in a different light. To revisit what made him a star. He had loads of energy and love for the music.”

“Million Dollar Quartet” was inspired by the true story of the famed recording session, where Sam Phillips, the Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll, brought together icons Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash for one unforgettable night. It is loaded with that great music from 1956 and gives us an insight into the four singers.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is at the Providence Performing Arts Center from January 15-20. Tickets are available by calling 421-ARTS.


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