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Warwick grad producing ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Dutch Apple
Lauren Loercher Sobon has been hanging out with four guys lately, but her husband doesn’t seem to mind.
In fact, he’s pretty pleased that Sobon has become so close to Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. Yes, she personally knows the King himself.
In fact, there have been quite a few Elvis sightings at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, where “Million Dollar Quartet” will be on stage through June 19. Sobon knows the four stars of the show quite well, having served as artistic producer of the show when it was touring nationally and now, as it has arrived in Lancaster.
Sobon, 47, is a 1987 graduate of Warwick High School, and has been involved with the Warwick Middle School theatre program with her husband Dean Sobon for many years. She has been a part of Prather Touring and Dutch Apple for more than 22 years, performing in shows like “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,” “Fiddler On The Roof,” “Gypsy” and “Annie Get Your Gun.”
Altogether that makes more than 85 productions in which she has sung, danced, acted, produced, directed or choreographed for the company over the years. A few include “A Wonderful Life,” “Shrek,” “Honky Tonk Angels,” “A Christmas Carol,” “How To Succeed In Business without Really Trying,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music.”
So how did this Lititz girl get to direct, choreograph and cast the hit show featuring four of the most famous performers of the 1950s? As one of three daughters of Ron and Joyce Loercher, she and her sisters, Lisa Terry and Linda Sympson, were always interested in the arts. Their mother was involved in the Ambucs theatre productions. Sobon got her start in elementary school and moved on to Warwick Middle School, where she performed in “Annie.” In high school she was in “Brigadoon” and “Bye, Bye Birdie.”
The theatre bug had bitten, so Sobon was off to Millersville University for a degree in communications and theatre direction. A stint doing infomercials in West Chester kept her away from the stage, and she was lured to the limelight, living in New York City for 10 years. She and Dean decided to move back to Lancaster County — Lititz more specifically — to raise their daughter Piper, now 10, who is also a budding star.
“This is a great area for a family, and we wanted Piper to have the kind of life we enjoyed here in Lititz,” says Sobon. “Prather (Entertainment Group) has been a great opportunity for me to be a mom and in theatre.”
While performing has been so much of her life, Sobon has found that producing a show is just as much fun as actually being on the stage.
“I get to be with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley. Now that’s something for a girl who grew up listening to these legends on my father’s record player,” she says.
The show “Million Dollar Quartet” is based on a true story, explains Sobon, when a chance get-together with the four recording stars took place on Dec. 4, 1956. That’s when rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins were at Sun Records recording studio in Memphis in what turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime impromptu jam session.
“It brings to light the poignant story of broken promises and secrets of these legends,” says Sobon.
With a soundtrack that’s packed with hits like “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “Hound Dog,” the show is as charged as a lightning bolt — four of them!
As director, choreographer and casting director for the show, Sobon had to cast the four singing actors for both looks and singing talents. Not only did they have to look like the singers, but they had to sing like them.
“They do a great job. You feel like you are really there,” says Sobon, describing how Carl Perkins was making a new record with the young, barely-known Jerry Lee Lewis on keyboards, when Elvis Presley happened to stop by. Johnny Cash joined in, and the rest was history.
For Sobon, “Million Dollar Quartet” has been an experience of a lifetime, as she brings together four rock ‘n roll legends together in a night for the record books.
“Million Dollar Quartet” shows at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, 510 Centerville Road, through June 19. Tickets can be purchased by calling 898-1900, or visiting dutchapple.com.
Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the pages of the Record Express. She welcomes feedback and story tips at email@example.com.