CMT has found three-fourths of its quartet for the upcoming scripted TV show Million Dollar Quartet, an eight-episode drama focusing on the history-making 1956 jam session Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins did when they were in their early 20s.
Elvis impersonator Drake Milligan has been cast as a 21-year-old version of The King, actor Kevin Fonteyne (Masters of Sex and Melissa & Joey) will portray a 24-year-old Cash, and Christian Lees (Tale of Tales) will take on a 21-year-old Lewis, CMT revealed onstage at the CMT Upfront in New York City on Thursday. Jonah Lees will play Lewis’ cousin Jimmy Swaggart.
Milligan, Fonteyne and the Lees twins were discovered during a nationwide casting call at Presley’s former middle school in Memphis. CMT will announce more cast members — including the final piece of the quartet, B.B. King, Ike Turner and Sam Phillips – before the show starts filming this spring in Memphis.
Million Dollar Quartet, adapted from the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name, will recreate the Dec. 4, 1956, gathering that occurred at Phillips’ Sun Records during the Civil Rights Movement. The show debuts in November to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the recordings.