Syracuse Stage to Celebrate Johnny Cash

From the songbook of The Man in Black himself, comes the musical adaptation "Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash". Performed by a multi-talented cast of 10, the show features 38 Cash classics including "I Walk the Line", "A Boy Named Sue" and "Folsom Prison Blues". This lively musical about love and faith, struggle and success, and rowdiness and redemption, opens at Syracuse Stage on June 9 in the Archbold Theatre at Syracuse Stage/SU Drama Complex, 820 E. Genesee St. Preview performances are June 7 and 8.

"Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash" is an addition to the 2016/2017 Syracuse Stage season. Stage's artistic director Robert Hupp's interest in "Ring of Fire" stems from his experience working on its revival at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He's seen the show multiple times and has since come to understand the value of Cash's music. Hupp believes the broad range of Cash's musical talents is what makes "Ring of Fire" appealing to all ages.

"He's not defined by one era of music the way some popular musicians are," said Hupp. "He's transcended any particular era and has broad appeal because his music was authentic and true to who he was."

"Ring of Fire" has been performed at venues around the nation. From New York to Chicago, Arizona to Indiana, audiences and critics alike have praised the show.

"A wild and burning performance concert with a first-class cast that does its best when it is kicking up its heels and delivering every song with gusto," reported.

"After seeing an extremely talented ensemble perform 'Ring of Fire', I'm reconsidering my musical tastes. This Cash is worth your cash," said Northwest Herald's Paul Lockwood. "This is truly an ensemble piece, with each performer getting a moment in the spotlight on well-known Johnny and June hits. The cast deserves to have a packed house for every performance."

"Ring of Fire" is built on Cash's great songs interspersed with transitional scenes inspired by his life, including episodes from his childhood and his relationship with June Carter Cash. The versatile performers in the cast play an array of instruments covering harmonicas, fiddles, guitars, mandolins and drums. This range of instruments reflects Cash's ability to span music genres and to influence great artists like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Even pop stars such as Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams hold Cash's music in high regard.

"There's a depth to his artistry, from his country roots to the man he became," said Jill Anderson, managing director, Syracuse Stage. "He's a lion in our culture with appeal that extends beyond the music alone."

Created by Richard Maltby, Jr. conceived by William Meade and directed by Rand Myler (originally directed by Jason Edwards), "Ring of Fire" paints a musical portrait of The Man in Black that will entertain and inspire theatregoers from all backgrounds.

"Taken together, Johnny Cash's songs seem to tell an almost mythic story of America," said Maltby in a statement in Playbill. "That's what we're attempting to put on stage. I think the humility, the humor, the sexiness, the emotional depth will be a revelation to most theatre audiences."

Tickets are now available at, by phone at 315-443-3275 and in person at the Box Office.

"Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash"

Created by Richard Maltby, Jr.

Conceived by William Meade

Adapted from the Broadway Production by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Jason Edwards

Original Direction of this Production by Jason Edwards

Orchestrations by Steven Bishop and Jeff Lisenby

Additional Arrangements by David Abbinanti

Directed by Randal Myler

Music Director: Jeff Lisenby

Choreographer: Denise Patton

Scenic and Projection Design: John Iacovelli

Costume Design: Gordon DeVinney

Lighting Design: Kenton Yeager

Sound Design: Jonathan Herter

Production Stage Manager: Stuart Plymesser


Trenna Barnes Principal

Allison Briner-Dardenne Principal

Benjamin D. Hale Principal

Brian Mathis Principal

Michael Monroe Goodman Singer/Musician/Ensemble (Guitar/Mandolin/Harmonica)

Walter Hartman Musician/Ensemble (Drums)

Jeff Lisenby Musician/Ensemble (Keyboard/Accordion)

Evan J. Marshall Musician/Ensemble (Fiddle)

John W. Marshall Musician/Ensemble (Upright Bass)

Brent Moyer Musician/Ensemble (Guitar/Trumpet)

Special Events

June 9 Opening Night Party (free for ticket holders)

Join the cast for a post-show celebration with live music, food, drinks and live music by Pale Green Stars, an American country rock band.

June 11 Prologue at 1 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, pre-show discussion with the actors one hour prior to curtain. Bring your questions.

Actor Talkback (free for ticket holders)

A Q&A session with the actors following the 7 p.m. performance.

June 12 New! "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison" Screening

Join us at 7 p.m. for a free screening of the documentary "Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison". Michael Streissguth, writer and producer of the film, will give a post-screening talk and book signing. The film runs 90 minutes.

June 15 Happy Hour at 6 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

Enjoy complimentary appetizers and beer tastings from Empire Brewing Company and half-priced drinks at our bar.

June 17 Prologue at 2 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors one hour prior to curtain. Bring your questions.

ASL Interpreted Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

June 21 Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

June 22 Prologue at 6:30 p.m. (free for ticket holders)

An intimate, 20-minute pre-show discussion with the actors one hour prior to curtain. Bring your questions.

June 24 Audio Described Performance at 3 p.m. for patrons who are blind or visually impaired.

May 28 Open Captioning at 2 p.m. Performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

ABOUT Syracuse Stage

Syracuse Stage is Central New York's premier professional theatre in residence at Syracuse University. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 300 plays in over 40 seasons including a number of world, American, and East Coast premieres. Each season 70,000 patrons enjoy an adventurous mix of new plays, and bold interpretations of classics and musicals, featuring the finest theatre artists. In addition, Stage maintains a vital educational outreach program that annually serves more than 15,000 students from 14 counties. A solid core of subscribers and supporters helps keep Syracuse Stage a vibrant artistic presence in Central New York. Additional support comes from the government, foundations, corporations and Syracuse University. Syracuse Stage is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, and a member of the Arts and Cultural Leadership Alliance (ACLA), the University Hill Corporation and the East Genesee Regent Association. Syracuse Stage is a member of The League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the largest professional theatre association in the country.

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