John Michael's tenure portraying the legendary Carl Perkins with the hit Broadway musical, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, began in 2011 as a member of the First National Tour. Over the course of two years, the cast rocked their way through more than 50 cities and multiple countries - including an extended Japanese run.  The tour became a runaway success, shattering box office expectations across the country and playing host to such rock and roll legends as Ronnie Hawkins, Priscilla Presley, Dion, Gordon Lightfoot, W.S. Holland, The Cash Family Members, Stan Perkins, and more. The group was welcomed into the Memphis music family with open arms. 

As the show entered its regional lifecycle, John Michael once again found himself donning the Blue Suede Shoes and hitting the road not only as Carl Perkins - but also, frequently as the show's  Musical Director.  After starring in two wildly successful productions of MDQ for noted director/actor Hunter Foster, he was asked to step in as M.D. a string of dates lasting more than two years.

John Michael was recently nominated for: Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role (Musical), Outstanding Musical Direction, and Outstanding Ensemble (Musical), by the TBA (Theatre Bay Area) Awards for his work on Million Dollar Quartet.


...John Michael Presney delivers strong vocals and plenty of hot licks on his Les Paul as Carl Perkins and gives (his) character a strong sense of humor...[his] work as music director displays a keen understanding and fondness for these musical gems. Since he’s leading the band as Perkins, it only makes sense to have him in charge of the music. Honestly, the tunes sound great... I’ve honestly never heard it sound as good as it does here, and some of the arrangements seem to have been tweaked a bit too...
— Chris Gibson -
Musically committed performances come from ... [and] John Michael Presney, who as Perkins — the least-known member of the quartet, but a rockabilly pioneer — has a nice scene with Mr. Seals’s Cash and Bligh Voth’s Dyanne...
— David DeWitt - The New York Times
John Michael Presney flashes an easy smile as Carl Perkins, in a memorable interpretation of the early rocker that emphasizes his guitar virtuosity. Presney is also music director for the show and he makes good use of each actor’s strengths in the vocal arrangements and harmonies. “Who Do You Love” transported me straight to guitar heaven and I instantly developed a crush on the talented and charismatic Presney. He and director Hunter Foster find areas to inject fresh spirit and interpretation into the show while keeping the pace fast and the characters on point.
— Tina Farmer - KDHX 88.1 FM St. Louis
John Michael Presney simmers as Carl Perkins...
— Judith Newmark - St. Louis Post Dispatch
John Michael Presney is an electric Carl Perkins whose guitar playing is a thing of wonder...
— Tom Holeman - CT Post-Chronical
They do uncanny things with their instruments. Presney’s guitar is a revelation…
— Andrea Braun - #BOOM
John Michael Presney crafts a terrific Carl Perkins, his gutsy voice and wonderfully jangling guitar just right for “Blue Suede Shoes” and other hits by this hardscrabble star
— Jan Farrington - TheatreJones
John Michael Presney is the production’s focused music director... (his) accomplished musical skills make the show sizzle with flair and flash....
— Mark Bretz - Ladue News
...All the actors/musicians were clearly the real deal. John Michael Presney as Carl Perkins played guitar with the technical and understated virtuosity that made Carl Perkins so effortless in his performances.
— Kathryn Kitt -
Presney is a terrific Perkins – he’s brooding at times, even resentful of Elvis’ purloining of his “Blue Suede Shoes”... but he’s likeable nonetheless. He plays a mean guitar and does a fab rockabilly
— Stephanie C. Lyons - Pillow Talking

The cast of the national tour performs "Blue Suede Shoes in Downtown Ft. Worth, TX. - 2013

The cast of the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet performs "See You Later, Alligator" on the marquee of the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, TX - 2013

Casa Mañana Production - 2016

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park - 2018

Performances to Date:

1st National & International Broadway Tours - 2011-2013

           Westchester Broadway Theatre - Westchester, NY - Summer 2016

        Casa Mañana - Dallas/Ft. Worth , TX - Fall 2016      

*Repertory Theatre of St. Louis - St. Louis, MO - Spring 2017

*Geva Theatre Center - Rochester, NY - Summer 2017

*Center Repertory Company - Walnut Creek, CA  Fall 2017

*Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park - Cincinnati, OH Winter 2018

**GEVA THEATRE CENTRE -  Rochester, NY Spring 2018

*Bucks County Playhouse - Summer/Fall 2018