BWW Review: Ensemble Casts Impresses in RING OF FIRE at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
The infamous "Man in Black" certainly has the legions of fans that merit a musical about his life, but you don't have to be a big Johnny Cash fan to love Ring of Fire. The show, onstage now at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, walks audiences through his life song by song; starting with his childhood in Arkansas all the way through the Grand Ole Opry days and then his struggle with substance abuse.The success of the show lies completely in the talent of the cast. While other productions can depend on flashy sets or costumes (though there are no lack of costume changes in this one), Ring of Fire is purely about the music. Each cast member must be able to carry their weight when it comes to singing and playing a wide range of instruments. This cast does not disappoint, with eight strong, though very different, versions of Johnny Cash taking the stage. Each one brings a unique tone and style to the performance. Featuring Allison Kelly, Tim Drake, Melody Allegra Berger, Brian Gunter, Jill Kelly Howe, Jeremy Sevelovitz, Travis Smith, and Zack Steele, audiences can revel in reverberating bass numbers, wild fiddle solos, sweet ballads, and playful songs. The wide variety in the production is part of the fun. Kelly's performance of "All Over Again" was an absolute highlight, but there were too many others to mention.
Fans of Smoke on the Mountain will definitely enjoy this one. The cast rotates through pianos, trumpets, guitars, drums, an upright bass, a fiddle, washboards, and even banging on pieces of the set to accompany the songs. The sheer number of instruments is impressive, but the fact that the cast is the one playing them all raises the bar even higher. The end result is an absolute delight and one that shouldn't be missed. Take your tapping toes to Beef & Boards this month!
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