Jerry Lee Lewis is the latest music name tapped to play an encore jam session at Broadway tuner “Million Dollar Quartet” — where Lewis will appear alongside the actor who portrays him in the show.
Production, which has not caught fire at the box office despite familiar rock ‘n’ roll tunes and a Tonycast showcase, has already enlisted a handful of musicians to drum up attention. But Lewis’ upcoming gig accomplishes the attention-getting feat of putting the real-life Lewis in a show whose storyline follows the legendary 1956 recording session that included Lewis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. Move plays to the Lewis fans who presumably make up a seg of the production’s target demo.
The mid-September date of the appearance also could have the strategic benefit of helping to boost the show’s box office during the post-Labor Day plummet that each year afflicts nearly every Broadway show.
Musicians Melissa Etheridge, Guy Davis and Larry Gatlin have previously played encores with the “Million Dollar” cast this summer.
Levi Kreis, Levi Kreis, the thesp who won a Tony this spring for his perf as Lewis, duets with Lewis on the veteran rock ‘n’ roller’s newest album, due to hit stores a few days before Lewis’ appearance at “Million Dollar” Sept. 10.
Whether the guest spot will register at the B.O. remains to be seen. The week Etheridge performed at “Million Dollar,” for instance, saw sales uptick a bit, but the same was true at most shows that frame thanks to heightened summer tourist traffic.