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Edited and Published by Robert W. McDowell

May 5, 2022 Issue
PART 5 (May 4, 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 Rollicking Rendition of Ring of Fire: The Johnny
Cash Musical Show
Is Hotter Than a Pepper Sprout!

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)

The North Carolina Theatre's rollicking rendition of Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show is hotter than a pepper sprout! Conceived by William Meade and created and directed on Broadway in 2006 by Richard Maltby Jr., Ring of Fire celebrates the considerable contributions that Johnny Cash made to the country, rock, folk, and gospel chapters Great American Songbook.

The NCT version of Ring of Fire includes a crowd-pleasing potpourri of earworms and oddities and even some novelty songs, all performed to perfection by five actor-singer-musicians, all making their NCT debuts. The show's youthful and diverse cast includes Carrie Lyn Brandon, Austin Hohnke, Jenna Moll Reyes, Rodolfo Soto, and Miguel Ragel Wilson, under the direction of Randy Redd.

Ring of Fire stars (from left) Austin Hohnke, Miguel Ragel Wilson, and Rodolfo Soto (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

The emphasis of this musical revue is on the music, not trying to look or sound like Johnny Cash. Messrs. Meade and Maltby intersperse their song selections with a few scant biographical details about the Man in Black, but only enough to smooth the segues from song to song, which Redd handles with aplomb.

This dive into Johnny Cash's repertoire had the Sunday-matinee audience clapping and sometimes singing along, tapping their toes, whooping and hollering, and whistling at their favorites among the 30 classic songs performed in an hour and 45 minutes, including intermission. Some crowd favorites included "In the Sweet By-and-By" (by S. Fillmore Bennett and Joseph P. Webster), "Daddy Sang Bass" (by Carl L. Perkins), "The Old Rugged Cross" (by George Bennard), "Ring of Fire" (by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore).

Jenna Moll Reyes stars in the North Carolina Theatre's presentation of Ring of Fire (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

Other favorites included "Jackson" (by Jerry Leiber and Billy Edd Wheeler), "A Boy Named Sue" (by Shel Silverstein), "Folsom Prison Blues" (by Johnny Cash), "Man in Black" (by Johnny Cash), and "I Walk the Line" (by Johnny Cash).

From the opening chord until the final note, NCT's production of Ring of Fire had the audience clapping along. The standing ovation at the final curtain was just icing on the cake.

The North Carolina Theatre's presentation of Ring of Fire stars Carrie Lyn Brandon (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. Wednesday-Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 4-8), 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. Susie Potter's Review.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Robert W. McDowell has written arts and entertainment articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, Triangle Arts and Entertainment, and Triangle Review, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill/Carrboro area of North Carolina. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE-TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE-FFL in the Subject: line.)


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