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Inteview with Million Dollar Quartet's David Elkins as Johnny Cash

Tony® Award Winning Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet will premiere at the Fox Theatre March 12-17, 2013. Million Dollar Quartet is set on December 4, 1956, when a twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together in Memphis.

Since opening on Broadway in April, 2010, to unanimous praise from critics and audences, Million Dollar Quartet continues to wow audiences. The New York Times called the show, "a buoyant new musical that whips the crowd into a frenzy." The Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet opened in 2008 and is still playing to full houses at the Apollo Theatre.

David Elkins plays “The Man in Black”, Johnny Cash, and during a recent interview, I got to know a little more about this incredible actor. Elkins holds a Master of Arts in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Examiner: Tell me about you.

David Elkins: I currently play Johnny Cash on the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet. & one of my favorite quotes is: “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”Henry David Thoreau

Examiner: When did you decide to become a musical theater artist?

David Elkins: I have always had an interest in both film & theater. Music has never not been a big part of my life. I hope to keep enjoying singing & playing with & for my family & friends...but my first real musical theater audition was for MDQ.

Examiner: Are you the only one in your family who is in musical theater?

David Elkins: Yes; however all of my family members are artistically inclined. My father is simply one of the most creative thinkers, overall, that I’ve ever known. My mother was a talented actress (she also sings, plays the piano & guitar, and shoots beautiful photography). My older brother is a natural musician and artist (drawing, sculpting, film directing/editing); & my older sister is a painter and fashion designer.

Examiner: You hold a Masters of Arts in Intercultural Studies. How do you apply that to your gift?

David Elkins: For me, intercultural studies is basically about removing barriers between people & turning thoughts into actions. I pursued it partly because I’m interested in the unique qualities of individuals & I enjoy seeking to sense the feelings of others by imagining myself in their situation...I enjoy the process of learning, regardless of the outcome or even if it’s practical application is still unknown...I have a strong desire to keep improving at whatever it is I have committed to do...Overall, I have found some beautiful applications and parallels between my studies & my current endeavor/adventures.

Examiner: Your role is “The Man In Black”. Are you like him in any way?

David Elkins: I play the 24 year old Johnny Cash in 1956 that is yet to fully create and embrace the “Man In Black” persona...I will just say that Johnny possessed a worldview & many other honorable character traits that I deeply respect & believe to be worth emulating (& sharing with others). I would highly recommend his autobiography to anyone.

Examiner: What other shows have you done?

David Elkins: Prior to being officially cast in the Million Dollar Quartet national tour, I had a great experience & an incredibly fun time performing in Ring of Fire at an old historic regional theatre in a recreated/preserved gold rush mining town in Northern California.

Examiner: There are thousands of performing arts student who aspire to be on the stage. Would you like to offer any advice to them?

David Elkins: There are certainly more experienced and better equipped people to reference...but if asked to “offer advice to performing arts students aspiring to be on the stage”; here are some things they might choose to do:
1. Know yourself.
2. Be joyful.
3. Resolve to become and stay healthy: mentally, physically, emotionally, & spiritually.
4. Refuse to procrastinate & refuse to be lazy.
5. Be a voracious reader...stay imaginative & curious...& learn to embrace the mysterious & wondrous things that you’ll inevitably encounter.
6. Seek & maintain friendships with all kinds of people; but be sure to include some that edify you & with whom you can laugh freely.
7. Have faith, remember to serve others, & above all else: keep & guard your heart, for it’s the wellspring of your life.

Thank you David for allowing us to get to know you.

You can find David on Twitter: @DavidElkinsMDQ.

Tickets for Million Dollar Quartet are available at the Fox Theatre box office, or telephone 1-855-TIXX.


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