Johnny Cash’s life story will be told through music at ShenanArts this weekend. “Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash,” will run May 9-12, and include Cash’s classic hits.
More than two dozen classic hits will paint a musical portrait of the “Man in Black” at ShenanArts. Hits include: “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire” and more.
Director Jeff McDaniel thought people in the local area would relate to the show.
“The themes of Johnny’s music reflect the values we hold dear here,” he said. “You don’t have to be a country music fan to enjoy Johnny Cash. He sang for all of us, and was a champion of the common man and for those that may not have gotten what they deserved.”
The musical is about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption and home and family. The story is told through singers, dancers and instrumentalists; Cash is not impersonated.
Cast vocalists include: Sandi Belcher, Brittany Kislek, Rebekah Bradley Ray, Cori McDaniel, Brent Hull, Ben Houseknecht, Matt Parrish and Eric Hedrick.
“Johnny Cash is an American Treasure,” Sandi Belcher said. “I grew up on his music. He was one of my father's favorite country artists. I lost my dad in 2017 and singing this music, with these unbelievably talented cast members and musicians, makes me feel connected to him.”
Dancers from the Mountain Heritage Cloggers will perform, including Ashleigh Brown, Megan Argenbright, Allyson Johnson, Grayson Long, Rhonda Long, Dorothy Stephenson, Erin Brendel and Lisa Johnson.
The band includes: William Hayes on piano, Melissa Dull on keyboards, Frank Waters on guitar, Carl Brooks on bass, Carolyn Lam on fiddle, Cole Daniels on mandolin, Dalton Ford on drums and Austin Shifflett on harmonica.
Cash had a local connection to the area. He is the person credited for jumpstarting the Statler Brothers’ careers after they met in Roanoke. The Statler Brothers spent more than eight years as part of Cash’s traveling show.
Five performances are available of “Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash” during the weekend: Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10- $17 per person, and may be purchased at shenanarts.org or by calling (540) 712-0001.
ShenanArts is at 300 Churchville Avenue in Staunton.