Last Friday—June 20—marked the opening night of “Ring of Fire,” the Johnny Cash musical tribute at the Arts Garage in Delray Beach. This exuberant performance would typically require a cast of 20, but only eight actors played all of the characters, changing personas for each scene.
This “jukebox musical”starts in the late 1930s/early 1940s, as evidenced by the costumes of that era as well as the early Cash family songs. The play proceeds through the various stages of Cash’s musical career, from the early Gospel days, through rock n’roll and the Grand Ole Opry, to the infamous prison days—and beyond. The beginning of the play referenced an earlier time in America that seemed simpler, more innocent, and set the stage for changes in the culture and Cash’s music that would follow.
The co-director of the musical, David Lutken, is coupled with actress Deb Lyons in many of the numbers. This rollicking duo represents the “middle-aged”couple of the group (Johnny and June Cash?) whose musical numbers reflect years spent trying to keep the fire alive in their relationship (His lyrics to “Jackson,” We got married in a fever, says it perfectly). The two are so in sync that it is easy to forget that they are only acting.
Even those who are not well versed in Cash’s music can find a way to connect with each song and scene. The most jaded country music critic can’t help but fall in love with the legend that is Johnny Cash.
The Arts Garage in Delray Beach is an integral part of the experience. The close-to-the-stage seating and intimacy of the small room really makes the audience feel as if they are on the stage and in the story with the performers.
Each member of the audience is sure to receive their fair share of feel-good moments throughout the musical. The cast members are talented beyond belief, each playing multiple instruments and with singing voices that don’t hit a false note.
A ticket price of $30 is too good to pass up for such an exquisite venue and an even better performance. Bring your own food and drinks, but don’t worry about the entertainment—they’ve got that covered.
“Ring of Fire” runs until July 13. To view the schedule or to purchase tickets, go to: artsgarage.org
Kelsey Howard is a recent college graduate who earned her Bachelor of Arts in mass communications with a concentration in magazine journalism at the University of South Florida. Kelsey is an editorial intern this summer at Boca Raton magazine. She is 21 years old with a passion to explore the world and write about it along the way. You can contact Kelsey at email@example.com or 941/306-9158 or view her portfolio here.