Reconceived Ring of Fire, Directed by Richard Maltby, Jr., Opens March 3; Jason Edwards, Eddie Clendening Among Cast
By Michael Gioia
Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents the premiere of a newly reconceived version of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, officially opening March 3, following previews that began March 1.
Richard Maltby, Jr. created the piece and also directs The Rep's production, which features Trenna Barnes (Ring of Fire at Denver Center Theatre Company), Eddie Clendening (Million Dollar Quartet), Jason Edwards (Ring of Fire), David Miles Keenan (co-musical director for Woodie Guthrie's American Song at the Arizona Theatre Company) and Mark W. Winchester (Nash Ramblers band).
The piece was originally conceived by William Meade with orchestrations by Steven Bishop and Jeff Lisenby. Maltby has reconceived his Johnny Cash tribute for a five-member ensemble for The Rep's Stackner Cabaret. Performances continue through May 5.
"Most of the songs in the show are songs people already know," said Maltby, Jr. in a previous statement. "And yet put together in an evening, they tell a story. Johnny had the soul of a poet, and when you listen to these songs together you hear something in them that is surprising. It's the story of America. Perhaps it is an America that doesn't exist anymore, but it certainly exists in our American mythology."
From the iconic songbook of Johnny Cash, according to Milwaukee Rep, "comes this unique musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family. More than two dozen classic hits – including 'I Walk the Line,' 'A Boy Named Sue,' 'Folsom Prison Blues' and the title tune – performed by a multi-talented cast, paint a musical portrait of The Man in Black that promises to be a foot-stompin', crowd-pleasin' salute to a uniquely American legend!"
Ring of Fire premiered at the Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, NY, in 2005. The original Broadway production opened on March 12, 2006, and was produced by William Meade, CTM Productions, Bob Cuillo, GFour Productions and James B. Freydberg at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Megan Truscott, costume designer Holly Payne, lighting designer Lee Fiskness, sound designer Ray Nardelli, choreographer Emily Maltby, stage managers Rebecca Lindsay and Briana J. Fahey and stage management intern Kaitlin Kitzmiller.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater is located at 108 E Wells Street in Milwaukee, WI. For more information and tickets, call (414) 224-9490 or visit MilwaukeeRep.com.
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