With less than 1 month to go until we open the Million Dollar Quartet tour at the Leicester Curve, we caught up with Martin Kaye who is reprising his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the UK.
What are you most looking forward to about being part of the MDQ tour?
I can’t wait to join a brand new cast and start all over again, start fresh, learn new things from everyone…and start a new band!! And honestly, having done this show for nearly five years but never in my home country, this is going to be really special for me, and for my friends and family.
What can you tell us about your character?
Jerry Lee Lewis…wow, honestly, I think he can be summed up in two words. Wild one. He’s just one of a kind, such a legend, an incredible talent and just awesome to watch, in the truest sense of the word. I’m truly honored to have played him for so long and to continue to do so. He and I have had quite a journey together!
How are you preparing for the role?
Well, I want to go into this production of the show with a very open mind. Yes, I’ll bring ideas from the interpretation I’ve already grown into, but I know I’m going to be introduced to a whole new set of ideas, and there’s still so much to learn, and now a whole new family to learn it from, so it’s going to be very interesting and quite challenging I think – I’m very excited for that.
How old were you when you learnt to play your first instrument?
Well, my first instrument is my voice, which I started discovering how to use when I was three, but piano wasn’t too far after that, I was about six when my piano playing father insisted my brother and I took lessons. I learnt a lot, but I feel that it wasn’t until I quit lessons at around age 11 that I really started to learn how to play, and listen, and train my ear.
What’s your favourite song from the era?
Wow, from the era?! Knowing these tunes so well now, it’s hard not to pick one from the show! But….yep, I have to say “Whole Lotta Shakin”. It’s just the perfect amount of energy, sex and rock ‘n’ roll that it’s really difficult to not pick it!
You’ve been performing in MDQ in the US, what are you most excited about coming over to the UK?
Really just being home, in the motherland, with my family and friends – I miss being on British soil, it’ll always be home. I very rarely get to be there, maybe once a year if I’m lucky!
How do you think the UK and US audiences will differ?
That’s something I’ve been wondering actually. I think possibly some American references will get lost on a lot of the UK crowds, just because they’re very specific, insular references, so that might change how they react to certain things, but I think on the whole, it’s really just about the music – the universal language – and that’s the best part, so I think the crowds are going to go absolutely crazy when we rock up into their town!
Why should people come and see the show?
It’s a true snapshot of iconic music history – you get to see four of the greatest music legends spontaneously jamming out together, poking fun at and arguing with each other, connecting in a way you wouldn’t normally see four legends like that interact. You get to see how they got their starts at Sun Records with “father of rock and roll” Sam Phillips, and how he nurtured and made so much success of their talent. It’s fun, it’s high energy, there’s drama that really heats things up at times. Plus, we all actually play our own instruments on stage, so it’s always real, authentic and just a damn good time. The question should really be “how could they miss it?!”
Make sure you don’t miss out, buy your tickets for a venue near you!