RING OF FIRE Kicks Off Virginia Stage's 39th Season

RING OF FIRE Kicks Off Virginia Stage's 39th Season

Virginia Stage Company kicks off its 39th Season with the hit musical, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Explore love, family, and heartache through the tumultuous biography of the man in black. This energetic and exhilarating musical rocks more than thirty of Cash's iconic hits.

This ensemble cast tells the story and fills the roles of the people throughout Johnny Cash's life, with Ben Hope featured as Cash and Katie Barton as June Carter Cash.

Ben Hope played the lead role in the musical Once on Broadway and reprises his role as Johnny Cash from other productions of Ring of Fire.

Katie Barton has toured the United States, Japan, and Canada in the musical Million Dollar Quartet and reprises her role of June Carter Cash from other productions of Ring of Fire.

Ring of Fire has performances starting Wednesday, September 13 for three nights of previews with opening night on Saturday, September 16, and runs for three weeks, concluding October 1. Tickets range from $20 - $55 with special discounts for military, students, and groups. This production is most enjoyed by ages 10 and up.

Virginia Stage has changed its performance schedule this season by moving all evening performances to 7:30pm and Saturday matinees to 3pm, changing opening night to the first Saturday of the run, and eliminating Tuesday performances to provide more rest for performers and technicians.

Memberships are still available for the full season with prices ranging from $99 - $299.

Interviews can be arranged with members of the cast, crew, creative team, or staff of Virginia Stage Company. All reviews are welcome, and tickets can be provided to anyone who wishes to see the production for these purposes.

Virginia Stage Company is southeastern Virginia's leading theatre destination, serving an audience of over 70,000 annually both at the Wells Theatre and throughout the community. Virginia Stage Company's mission is to "enrich, educate, and entertain the region by creating and producing theatrical art of the highest quality."

See below for information on the cast and creative team:


Katie Barton makes her Virginia Stage debut in Ring of Fire, reprising one of her favorite roles, June Carter Cash. Katie has toured the United States, Japan and Canada with the Broadway National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet. She earned a degree in Musical Theatre at Birmingham-Southern College, and completed acting apprenticeships at Flat Rock Playhouse and Actors Theatre of Louisville. Katie is so grateful to have a career that allows her to travel the world, learning, growing and playing music alongside her best friend and husband, Ben Hope. Favorite roles include: Dyanne - Million Dollar Quartet (National Tour, Las Vegas, Norwegian Getaway), Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man, Nora - Woody Sez, Lucy - Dracula (Actors Theatre of Louisville).

Gill Braswell is a native of North Carolina. He is a graduate of Shenandoah Conservatory with a BFA in Musical Theatre and has been a professional actor and musician performing in regional theatres across the country for over 20 years. Top experiences include performing at the historic Ryman Auditorium and on the Grand Ole Opry. Gill was part of the original cast of Barter Theatre's Keep on the Sunny Side: The Story of the Carter Family and originated the role of Dr. Ralph Stanley in Barter's production of Man of Constant Sorrow: The Story of the Stanley Brothers and has served as an actor and pit musician with Barter for a dozen years. As an avid Cash fan, Gill is happy to be performing in Ring of Fire once again and being part of the cast here at Virginia Stage. Gill is a proud member of Actors Equity. Thanks be to God for all these gifts.

Ben Hope (Johnny Cash) is very excited to bring the life and music of Johnny Cash to Virginia. Hope made his Broadway debut in 2012 in the Tony Award winning musical Once. He developed an early passion for good music and storytelling through his upbringing in Birmingham, AL. This passion has taken him around the world playing such notable musical greats as Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, George Jones, Woody Guthrie, and Buddy Holly, among other more traditional musical theatre roles. Hope has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Central Florida and lives in New York with his remarkable wife Katie Barton. Ben leads NYC-based Honky-Tonk band Ben Hope & The Uptown Outfit. Learn more about Ben and the band on their Facebook page. All of Ben's music is available on iTunes and other digital music outlets.

Sean Powell is excited to make his Virginia Stage debut. Sean comes directly from Maples Repertory Theatre where he appeared in Million Dollar Quartet, Leading Ladies and Anything Goes. Favorite roles include: Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash), Legally Blonde (Emmett), Parade (Britt Craig), Spamalot (Not Dead Fred, Herbert, etc.), Three Musketeers (Rochefort), Fiddler on the Roof (Motel), Anything Goes (Billy), Smoke on the Mountain (Dennis), Little Women (Laurie), American Song (Woody Guthrie), Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour), Pride & Prejudice (Mr. Bingley), and Othello (Roderigo). Sean holds a BFA in Musical Theatre, from Missouri State University. Thank you for supporting local theatre and keep coming back! www.seanpowell.net

Emily Mikesell will also be performing in the production, and a headshot and bio will be available upon request.


Amy Jones (Director) is an accomplished Director, Choreographer and Musical Director. Most recently, Amy directed/choreographed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Annie and Smokey Joe's Cafe at Flat Rock Playhouse and musical directed Million Dollar Quartet and Almost Heaven: Songs of John Denver at Infinity Theatre in Annapolis, MA. She also directed readings of 3 new musicals in NYC. Amy has provided choreography for Broadway Backwards 8 and 9 at the Hirschfeld Theatre and Palace Theatre (Broadway), served as the musical director for Texas In Paris at the York Theatre in NYC (Audelco nomination for best Musical Direction), and directed/musical directed Ring of Fire at Infinity Theatre and Barter Theatre. Amy has provided dramaturgy for the new musicals Alice, Warsaw, and Junk: A Rock Opera. Many thanks to Tom for the opportunity to direct here at Virginia Stage. Proud member of AEA and SDC.

Additional team members include:

Scenic Designer: Derek Smith

Costume Designer: Jeni Schaefer

Lighting Designer: Heather "B" Butterbaugh

Sound Designer: Steven Allegretto

Projections Designer: Derek Smith

Keyboard: William Neil

Drums: Tau Chatman

Stage Manager: Kristin Loughry

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