CMT and Thinkfactory Media have announced Memphis and Shelby County will be the production base for the upcoming CMT television series, “Million Dollar Quartet”. Telling the story of the early Sun Studio recording careers of such icons as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ike Turner, the series will focus on the often-turbulent career of Sam Phillips, the musical genius who first directed them toward stardom.
Filming will begin in late March, with pre-production kicking off with a giant casting call Saturday, February 13th, at Memphis’ Humes Preparatory Academy Middle School – more famously known as Humes High School, the alma mater of Elvis Presley. The production hopes to cast all the leads – such as Elvis, Trixie Dean (Elvis’ girlfriend) Jerry Lee, Ike Turner – along with other roles and “extras.” Those who attend the casting call are asked to come in 1950s hair and wardrobe.
Saturday’s events continue with – what else? – but a “Killer Karaoke” night at – where else? – but Jerry Lee Lewis’ Café & Honky Tonk on Beale Street, beginning at 8 pm. Admission will be $5.00 per person. Discount coupons for tickets to “Killer Karaoke,” along with coupons to several other Memphis restaurants, clubs and attractions, will be distributed at the casting call.
Local officials shared their enthusiasm for having Million Dollar Quartet base in Memphis – predicted to pour millions of dollars into local businesses, the hiring of local cast and professional crew, and at the same time providing a boost to Memphis’ tourism and music industries.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said, “We are delighted that CMT will be producing their Million Dollar Quartet series here as we remind the world ‘It Came from Memphis!’” Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr., stated: “We’re so proud Sun Studio, the Arcade Restaurant and other historic places linked to our musical heritage will be seen by CMT fans around the world.” Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau: “Memphis is as real and authentic as it gets, and we’re excited the show has chosen to maintain that authenticity by filming in the city where a rock ‘n’ roll revolution was born.”