Johnny Cash is an American original and a household name to anyone over the age of 30. His music is household famous as well – “I Walk the Line,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “Folsom Prison Blues” among many others. He wrote and/or recorded over 300 songs and sold over 90 million records. If you like Johnny Cash music, the best way to enjoy a retrospective of his career is to go see Ring of Fire currently at the Riverside Theatre.
This is my kind of musical. It is all music (32 songs) with short vignettes of dialogue about his life. We all know that Cash was a very complex man, an enigma, but that side of him is not the point of this show – it’s all about the music and the atmosphere of old-fashioned country culture around which that music was created.
The central characters – two male and two female – at times resemble Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in their youth and then more mature. But often they all appear together on stage. The “young Johnny,” played by Benjamin D. Hale, is in character throughout the performance, but the “older Johnny,” (played by Jason Edwards, who also directed the presentation) is more of a composite, as are the female leads, Trenna Barnes and Allison Briner-Dardenne. All are excellent however as singers and performers as they take you through Cash’s early life during the Great Depression, then his musical career from start to stardom. Continue reading…