He used to be the boy next door. Then he moved to London and discovered sex, drugs and musical theatre.

Now former Neighbours star Jason Donovan, well past his tumultuous adolescence, heads back down under as the star of an international hit musical. The father-of-three touches down in Auckland in June to appear in Million Dollar Quartet about one of rock 'n' roll's most incredible true stories.

Donovan plays Sam Phillips, the recording studio owner and music producer who brought Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins together for a one-night-only jam session which made music history.

On that famous 1956 day at Phillips' Sun Record Studios, Perkins was recording new material following the success of his hit Blue Suede Shoes. Phillips called in a relatively young and inexperienced piano player named Jerry Lee Lewis to accompany Perkins and, as the duo got to work, Elvis Presley then Johnny Cash unexpectedly arrived.


As conversation turned to music-making, sound engineer Jack Clement hit "record". By the end of the evening, Clement had 46 old favourites, original tunes and familiar gospel songs captured for all time.

The Tony Award-winning Million Dollar Quartet arrives direct from the United Kingdom and features many of those hits: Blue Suede Shoes, Great Balls of Fire, I Walk The Line, Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, Folsom Prison Blues and Hound Dog.

Written by music historian Colin Escott and film writer and producer Floyd Mutrux, the jukebox musical debuted in 2006 and has enjoyed hugely successful runs on Broadway in New York, London's West End and tours of the USA and the UK.

Donovan joined the cast last year.

Since rising to fame as Neighbours boy-next-door Scott Robinson - and boyfriend of co-star turned pop diva Kylie Minogue - he's starred in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sweeney Todd and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

He's also been a chart-topping pop singer and now tours the UK with his Ten Good Reasons and Greatest Hits show as well as presenting the All 80s Show on a British radio station.

But it hasn't all been top 10 records and successful stage appearances for Donovan. He's admitted being a global superstar - famous for a clean-cut image - barely out of his teens drove him to drug addiction which nearly killed him.

In 1995, he was rushed by ambulance from notorious LA nightspot The Viper Room. While he recovered, Donovan continued to take drugs and only managed to kick the addiction when his first child was born in 2000.


Tickets for Million Dollar Quartet's Auckland season go on sale from Tuesday.

It's the latest stage show to get an Auckland season this year. Joseph and West Side Story were announced in 2016 while, in the last fortnight, promoters have announced the stage adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda and the comedy The Play That Goes Wrong will also play here.

Matilda debuted on the West End in 2011 and has won seven Olivier Awards while the Broadway production scooped five Tony Awards in 2013. It arrives in Auckland in August.

Described as Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off, The Play That Goes Wrong is also an award-winner and will begin a New Zealand tour in Auckland in September.

What: Million Dollar Quartet
Where & when: Civic Theatre, June 9 - 18