He is confident that “Million Dollar Quartet” won’t be diluted by the different versions out there. A few months ago he and Pritzker stopped by the Apollo Theater in Chicago to check out Lance Lipinsky play Jerry Lee Lewis and came away impressed.
“Levi turned to me and he goes, `OK, that kid is incredible, and, might I say, maybe even better than me,’” Pritzker says, laughing. It’s a story confirmed by Kreis, who adds that watching Lipinsky rejuvenated his own take on Lewis back on Broadway.
“Each cast creates an entirely different energy,” he says. “You get a consistent product while having a little bit of that organic, unexpected quality every time you see it.”
So far, producers say the national tour will include stops later this year in Rochester, N.Y.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Indianapolis. Next year, it will pull into Tampa, Fla.; Detroit; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis and Costa Mesa, Calif. More dates are to be announced later.
Kreis says he leaves the show a better man, and not just because he has a Tony. The native of Oliver Springs, Tenn., says the show’s music has bled into his own songwriting and he has been energized while playing a youthful, piano-pounding rock icon such as Jerry Lee Lewis.
“The fact that I have to go into that energy eight times a week, I’ve been able to find my own personal power, my own confidence,” he says. “Playing him gave a 6-foot, scrawny, 125-pound, pock-faced teenage kid the confidence to believe that he was somebody. And I love that about my Jerry Lee Lewis.”