A Note from Scenic Designer Katherine Stepanek


The legendary Sun Studio was the birthplace of Rock ‘N’ Roll, and where many famous artists got their start, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. On December 4, 1956, a twist of fate brought together these four artists for their one and only session, with the owner of the studio, the “Father or Rock ‘N’ Roll”, Sam Phillips.  Million Dollar Quartet is their story.

Because Sun Studio is the home of the industry, it is very important that the scenery for the musical retains the heart and soul of Sam Phillips’s studio.  Sam’s whole life is this studio, and the recording booth is where he spends his time. We had a lot of fun visiting Sun Studio and research Phillips, creating this world for him that people can still recognize.  The green walls and acoustic tiles were just the beginning; there is an eight foot guitar, stained glass, recording equipment, even the speakers and piano were designed in homage to Sun Studio.

The set also has its own little tricks.  Everything lights up or changes, creating a whole new space without ever leaving the studio.  Working closely with Kirk Bookman, the lighting designer, we invented a concert look that can transport you without a full scene change.

The world that exists on this stage has been created to honor the story that is being told.  Sam Phillips was the Father of Rock ‘N’ Roll, and part of that reason was this studio he built by hand, laying even the tiles himself.  This is what created his unique sound, and led to the birth of a whole genre of music. The studio itself is borne from the idea that there is something special out there, you just have to know how to find it.  And Sam Phillips did.