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July 21, 2019

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Monday By the Numbers: ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ reaches a grand mark at Harrah’s

Melody Sweets Sings With ‘Million Dollar Quartet’

L.E. Baskow

Melody Sweets dances between Robert Britton Lyons as Carl Perkins and Justin Shandor as Elvis during her guest appearance in “Million Dollar Quartet” on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at Harrah’s.

'Million Dollar Quartet' Grand Opening at Harrah's

Robert Lyons, Carla Pellegrino, Martin Kaye, Marc Donovan, Felice Garcia, Tyler Hunter and Ben Hale at the grand opening of Launch slideshow »

Rehearsal for 'Million Dollar Quartet'

Tyler Hunter, center, performs as Elvis Presley during a rehearsal for Launch slideshow »

'Million Dollar Quartet' at Reynolds Hall

Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report this week focuses on “Million Dollar Quartet,” the musical at Harrah’s that is celebrating its 1,000th performance Tuesday night. We met the cast in January 2013 during their first full rehearsal.

Since that initial assembly of the band and actors, we’ve grown quite fond of the crew that delivers the story of the night of Dec. 4, 1956, when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins met and jammed at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records in Memphis.

The 1,000th show will be highlighted by a performance of the vocal group Village Blend of Opportunity Village, who will sing “Blue Suede Shoes” with the cast.

Let’s drop the needle on this slice o’ vinyl:

19: Pounds of Layrite Pomade smeared into the hair of the male actors.

286: Pounds of confetti dropped on the audience during the show-closing fantasy jam by the four principal performers.

25 cents: The cost of a gallon of gas (according to Lewis) in 1956.

8: Cast members onstage during the show at Harrah’s.

2,500: Shows performed by original cast member Rob Lyons, who plays Carl Perkins, dating to his debut in Chicago in 2007.

25: Guest performers with whom Lyons has performed during that stretch (including the real Jerry Lee Lewis).

2: Pairs of blue suede shoes worn by Lyons in his run as Perkins (they are uber-durable and handmade).

3,000: Guitar picks used just by those playing Perkins in Las Vegas.

3,000: Shots of Glenfiddich whisky taken back by Lyons.

22: Months since Lyons and I made a pact to return the word “groovy” into the lexicon of English communication (this during a hang with Pia Zadora at Piero’s).

120: Guitar strings replaced in the Las Vegas production.

7: Guest stars who have joined the cast at the end of the show at Harrah’s (Taylor Hicks, Veronic DiCaire, Frankie Moreno, Holly Madison, Melody Sweets, Clint Holmes and Zadora make up that list).

2,000: Herbal cigarettes smoked onstage.

1,000: Sun contracts written for Cash that are angrily torn up by Phillips.

1,000: Scarves Elvis has passed to audience members.

16,000: AAA batteries used in the Las Vegas show.

248: Keys broken on the piano played by the Lewis character.

4: Band-Aids used by the cast (yes, just four, remarkably).

1: Photo taken of the four during the session.

1: Framed photo hanging in the studio of the late, great Jim Belk, the Las Vegas production’s original drummer.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at

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