A musical inferno is sweeping through FST’s Court Cabaret this summer. And one man stands center stage, holding the match.
FST is proud to bring you Great Balls of Fire, an electrifying act honoring Rock & Roll’s first great wild man: the one-and-only Jerry Lee Lewis.
“Jerry Lee saw a hole in the music industry,” said Jason Cohen, Great Balls of Fire front man and one of the show’s creators. “Namely that there were no pianists who had the showmanship and Rock & Roll sensibility of the guitarists of the age—and he sought to fill it.”
Cohen is no stranger to the role – he played Jerry Lee Lewis in the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet, delivering nearly 300 critically acclaimed performances.
One BroadwayWorld reviewer wrote, “I could not keep my eyes off of him the whole show.” Critics in Topeka, KS, wrote that “he [Cohen] could go round for round with Lewis when it comes to pounding out a tune.”
“Jason just is Jerry Lee Lewis in real life,” said Buckley Harris, who played Johnny Cash alongside Cohen in Million Dollar Quartet. “On and off the stage, the guy is just as wild in all the best ways, and that really translates onto the stage.”
Now, Cohen brings the ivory-smashing superstar back to life once more with a sizzling Cabaret featuring over 20 hits from the ‘50s and beyond, including “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”
“Great Balls of Fire is dynamic entertainment and the perfect show to kick off our Summer Cabaret Series,” said FST Associate Artist Catherine Randazzo. “Jason Cohen is a professional with great energy. His show takes the audience through Lewis’ songs and stories, but also adds a touch of comedy along with a few surprises, keeping the audience on their toes.”
Audiences of all ages have loved the show, saying, “Oh, it’s awesome!” and “It was fun to dance in my seat and clap along.”
Cohen, like many of us, has been itching to step into a theatre again.
“This will be my first opportunity to perform for a long run since the beginning of the pandemic,” said the artist. “I could not think of a more exciting way to return to performing live than doing Great Balls of Fire at FST. It will be like reuniting with an old friend.”
A four-piece band – featuring Luke Darnell (Guitar, Mandolin), Nathan Yates Douglass (Double Bass, Harmonica), Justin Brown (Saxophones, Clarinet, and Piccolo), and Jon Rossi (Drums) – will rock out with Cohen. And they might even perform some Jerry Lee-inspired tricks of their own!
Some may recognize Douglass from FST’s 2018 Summer Cabaret, The Music of the Night with The Swingaroos, where he wowed audiences with his jazzy bass playing. The other members of the band have performed as instrumentalists and actors both on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as in national tours.
“When you come to see this show, you should expect a hell of a good time!” said Cohen. “After all, that’s one thing that you could always expect from Jerry Lee Lewis.”