On April 19th four middle school students in the guitar ensemble at the St. Anselm School in the South Bronx traveled to New World Stages to watch an electrifying performance of the rock-n-roll hit musical Million Dollar Quartet and rehearse onstage with the talented performers.
The guitar ensemble students and the Million Dollar Quartet cast are preparing for a special joint performance that will be the highlight of ETM's 2012 Children's Benefit on Tuesday, May 1st at the Grand Hyatt (109 East 42nd Street). That afternoon marked the award-winning musical's 300th performance at New World Stages and its third year performing in New York, and the gracious cast celebrated this monumental achievement with a reception for the ETM students and staff.
Inspired by a true story, Million Dollar Quartet takes place on December 4th, 1956, when Sam Phillips, the "Father of Rock and Roll" brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley together in recording studio in Memphis for one of the greatest rock jam sessions of all time. Million Dollar Quartet captures the infectious spirit, freewheeling excitement and thrilling sounds of these four iconic musicians, and the talented performers stun the audience with their musical prowess and jaw-dropping instrumental techniques.
After watching the all-star cast bust out some of the greatest numbers in musical history, these St. Anselm students took a deep breath and brought out their guitars. The performers welcomed the students onstage and these magnificent musicians, both amateur and experienced, started a jam session of their own. The students ran through the two songs from the musical that they will be performing with the cast during the ETM Children's Benefit. Cast members Robert Britton Lyons (who plays Perkins) and Lance Guest (who plays Cash) walked the students through the basic chords of the pieces and shared their perspectives as professional musicians. The students emerged from the experience inspired by their conversation and excited to practice for their performing debut!
ETM would like to thank the incredible cast, crew and staff of Million Dollar Quartet for giving our students a truly magical afternoon. We look forward to watching them share a stage and thrill our ETM audience!
The cast and St. Anselm students celebrate Million Dollar Quartet's 300th performance at New World Stages!
Actor Eddie Clendening (who portrays Elvis Presley in the raucous musical) takes the time to chat with the students about his experience with music.
Million Dollar Quartet's Robert Britton Lyons (who plays Carl Perkins) gives the students some performance tips during the group rehearsal.
Gifted performer Lance Guest (who Johnny Cash to life), leads the students through the basic chords of his number with the support of the ETM staff.
The students listen intently to the actors' advice about guitar technique.
The Million Dollar Quartet Cast has given these students a fantastic musical experience they will remember for years to come!