We caught up with leading man Jason Donovan, who will play Sam Phillips in Million Dollar Quartet to discover how he’s preparing for the role and why he thinks audiences will love the show…
What are you most looking forward to about being in Million Dollar Quartet?
I’m looking to the music. I’m looking forward to the character, playing Sam Phillips. It’s quite dialogue-heavy and story-driven, so it’s quite a challenge for my memory. But I’m looking forward to telling a story and playing something different than what I’ve done in the past.
What’s your favourite thing about performing on stage?
The audience, always the audience. And the fact that you never quite know how a performance is going to go and each performance is different – it’s the chemistry between the actors. It’s exciting. It gets your adrenaline going.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be?
Well definitely being on top of the words and the dialogue and the character each night, because it’s meaty in its dialogue and I’m really the driving force of the story. That requires a lot of concentration!
What will you be doing to get into character?
Spending many hours on my own, wandering around the streets of London, learning lines. And, you know, looking up clips of Sam Phillips and just getting a sense of the person, working on the American accent, and just finding within the dialogue the character.
What 3 words would you use to describe Sam Phillips?
Smart, passionate, and he’s someone who’s willing to accept and look at the bigger picture.
The show is all about four rock n roll icons – what’s your favourite song in the show?
I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash’s classic.
What else can audiences look forward to about the show?
I just think it’s going to be a great piece of entertainment. I think for those people who don’t know that era in music, it’s very uplifting. The 50’s were a massive change in America and throughout the world, and I think I’m just looking forward to the interaction with the songs and the story.
Why did you want to be in the show?
I thought the music of that era is outstanding, it’s fun, it was sort of a rebellious period in particularly American styles of music. There’s some big characters; essentially the story of sun records is an incredible music industry business story about 1 man who took all these acts to the world.
Why do you think Million Dollar Quartet is such a successful musical?
Because it starts with a great story and I’ve always believed that’s where good musicals start. These songs are so iconic of the era and they relate not just to that period but to music today. It’s the foundations of music all around the world in every genre.
Why should people come and see the show?
I think the main reason people should come and see the show is because it’s a good night out. It’s a wonderful story about some very big characters. The underscore is the music and it’s very uplifting, it’s very poignant. It’s a very interesting time in the music industry to look back at.
Book tickets to see Million Dollar Quartet at a venue near you.