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Edited and Published by Robert W. McDowell

May 5, 2022 Issue
PART 3 (May 3, 2022)

A FREE Weekly E-mail Newsletter Covering Theater, Dance, Music, and Film in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill/Carrboro Area of North Carolina Since April 2001.


NCT's Ring of Fire Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Johnny Cash

The North Carolina Theatre will present Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show, directed by Randy Redd,
on May 3-8 in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh

In 2005, music legend Johnny Cash was further immortalized in the biopic Walk the Line. However, that same year, the musical Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show also made its debut at the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, NY, and opened on Broadway in 2006, although to somewhat less acclaim. Created by Richard Maltby Jr. and conceived by conceived by William Meade, this jukebox musical honors Cash's life and legacy by featuring 38 of his songs in a telling arrangement. The North Carolina Theatre's production, directed by Randy Redd and featuring a gifted cast, beautifully brings the show to life and makes one wonder why it never got the attention it deserves.

The concert/musical starts with an appropriate medley of famous Cash lyrics. As those first sounds sprinkle across the stage, viewers also take in the lovely rustic wooden set with its background of blue sky peeking through the windows. And then, just like that, Cash's raucous "Country Boy" bursts through the serenity in a wonderful way.

From there, it's just one Cash hit after another, with a few quotes and stories from Cash's life added in between for good measure. This careful blending of anecdotes and music adds a new dimension to both Cash and his songs. In fact, it's what sets the show apart from being just a concert and transcends it into a unique sort of biography told through music.

Viewers witness the trajectory of the artist's life and his sound in a piecemeal kind of way that somehow comes together beautifully. Plus, there are cool lighting effects, storming sounds, and other visual and auditory additions that help set the appropriate mood and tone throughout.

A diverse and talented band, formed specifically for this production, rolls with all the punches and honors Cash's music in a way he'd be proud of. Austin Hohnke thrills with his rich, deep voice, while Jenna Moll Reyes infuses a whole new sound and style into the classic Cash lyrics. Rodolfo Soto also stands out in both musical skill and incredible charm. Performers Carrie Lyn Brandon and Miguel Ragel Wilson also present Cash's music in a new and enlightening way.

Long-time Johnny Cash fans are sure to enjoy this incredible celebration of the artist. However, there's no need to be a Cash devotee. The performances and beautiful musical stylings should render appreciation from all. In fact, anyone who wants a different kind of jukebox jaunt will find pleasure in the unique style and attention to detail this production offers.

The North Carolina Theatre's April 29-May 8 presentation of Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show stars (from left) Austin
Hohnke, Carrie Lyn Brandon, Miguel Ragel Wilson, Rodolfo Soto, and Jenna Moll Reyes (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

William Meade and Richard Maltby, Jr.'s RING OF FIRE: THE JOHNNY CASH MUSICAL SHOW (In Person at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 3-8), directed by Randy Redd and featuring Carrie Lyn Brandon, Austin Hohnke, Jenna Moll Reyes, Rodolfo Soto, and Miguel Ragel Wilson (North Carolina Theatre in the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh). DIGITAL PLAYBILL: TRAILER/VIDEOS: NCT NEWS RELEASE: 2021-22 SEASON: THE PRESENTER:,,,,, and THE VENUE:,,,, and DIRECTIONS/PARKING: NCT HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDELINES: DEC CLEANING PROTOCOLS AND ATTENDEE SAFETY: THE SHOW:,, and JOHNNY CASH (1932-2003):,,,,,,, and TICKETS: $35 and up, plus taxes and fees. Click here to buy tickets. GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941 or INFORMATION: 919-831-6941 or DONATE TO: North Carolina Theatre.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh's Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. She is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read more of Susie Potter's writings, click,, and


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