Tyler Hunter plays Elvis Presley in “Million Dollar Quartet” but he’s no dime store Elvis impersonator.
“I act like Elvis would have but I put my own little twist on it so it doesn’t seem so mimicked and copied,” explains Hunter. “These were real guys, normal buddies hanging out in the studio jamming. So you’ve got to make it real.”
Normal is a relative term when the “guys” in question are Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. The musical revisits the winter of 1956, when the four rock 'n' roll stars came together for their first — and only — recording session.
“You have four iconic people: Carl Perkins who wrote ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and really helped revolutionize rock music. You’ve got Jerry Lewis who’s a ham, the funny guy, the wild one, the killer. Then you’ve got Johnny Cash, who’s playing in every house,” says Hunter.
And of course there’s Hunter’s role. Presley was only 21-years-old at the time that this true story takes place, and just getting into movies.
“He’s not the big, big famous Elvis Presley that we all know, but he’s an international singing sensation as well as a movie star,” says Hunter.
But the performer isn’t intimidated to fill such shoes, big or otherwise.
“At this point I’m pretty comfortable with the role,” say Hunter, who’s played Elvis for two years in various productions (and owns the jumpsuits to prove it). “It helps that before I ever did this, I was a huge Elvis fan.”