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HomeArts/LeisureThe Roxy Regional Theatre showcases the music of Johnny Cash.

The Roxy Regional Theatre showcases the music of Johnny Cash.

“Hello, I am Johnny Cash”

The Roxy Regional Theatre has always done musicals well, so it is no surprise that the “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash” was a foot tapping good time. Showcasing the life of country Music Legend Johnny Cash the musical followed his life from his birth, until his death in 2003. The show features  Nathan Freeman, Brian C. Veith, Melissa Dowty, and Mindy Wedner. They were backed up by some great musicians Travis Wetzel, Lisa Horngren, John Waddle, Scott Stowe, Thad Wallus, Matt Whittenburg, and Tom Thayer.

The show runs through February 27, playing Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Saturday, February 20. Tickets are $20 (adults) and $15 (ages 13 and under). Tickets to all performances can be purchased online at www.roxyregionaltheatre.org, by phone at 931-645-7699, or at the theatre during regular box office hours (9am-2pm, weekdays).

Pictured, clockwise from bottom left: Brian Veith, Mindy Wedner, Nathan Freeman, Melissa Dowty the cast of The Ring of Fire Musical. (Photo courtesy of Greg Williamson / The Leaf-Chronicle)
Pictured, clockwise from bottom left: Brian Veith, Mindy Wedner, Nathan Freeman, Melissa Dowty the cast of The Ring of Fire Musical. (Photo courtesy of Greg Williamson / The Leaf-Chronicle)

This show is based around music and songs of Johnny and June Carter Cash and features 33 individual numbers mixing the voices of the cast in a harmonious blend. The first act’s music was positive and celebrated southern life, while the second half takes a somewhat darker tone most likely due to the admitted drug use by Cash.

In a behind-the-scenes look at The Johnny Cash Show, Cash claims to have “tried every drug there was to try.”

This was touched upon in the musical which attributed his first experience with mood altering drugs after an injury, “It feels so good, when you are hurting so bad”. He is reported to have beaten his addictions in 1968 at the age of 36. Cash like many performers also had problems with excessive drinking.

While Cash had a somewhat of an outlaw reputation, he actually never served time in prison. He was jailed seven times, but for minor offenses for which he was always released the next day. These experiences were the kernel for several of his songs, and lead to his world famous prison performances at Huntsville Texas State Prison, Folsom Prison, San Quentin, and others.

Johnny Cash also expressed a strong anti-war sentiment after visits to Vietnam to entertain the troops:

“As far as the war in Vietnam is concerned,” he later commented, “that war just made me sick. I’m not supporting that war or any other war… Maybe Vietnam has taught us a hard lesson to not be involved in foreign wars. Maybe that’s the lesson we’ve learned. I hope we have.”

Sadly we still haven’t learned that lesson!

Johnny Cash sold more than 50 million records and recorded over 45 albums over the course of his lifetime.

Lets get back to the Roxy’s performance!

The acting was amazing, and the singing brought back the original “Man in Black” for the audience members. You could swear at at times he was on stage performing live.

A person identifying themselves as a Carter cousin had this to say about the show.

I will not reveal my name, but I am a distant cousin of June Carter and the Virginian Carters. I have had the honor to be in her presence and also see her perform. We live near Bowling Green, so we took a drive down to the Roxy in Clarksville to see Ring of Fire. I loved the show, but I was especially moved during “Daddy Sang Bass”. When that young girl playing June would look over at the little brother with that June Carter smile and gave him a loving, family punch in the arm just like June would do in “Daddy Sang Bass”, I almost cried. It brought back memories of many, many years ago. I don’t know if this beautiful young lady had known that this was the way June always behaved. But it was like being back with the family all over again. Thank you young lady for giving this old lady a moment of happiness that I never expected.

The Broadway version of the musical is available on iTunes, but I think the Roxy’s performance outshines it by far.

This is a wonderful musical, and a really great time! You will be tapping your feet, and clapping along with the tunes! I personally plan on going and seeing it at least one more time!

The Songs

Act I

  1. Country Boy – (John R. Cash) – Brian, Company
  2. Flesh and Blood – (John R. Cash) – Mindy, Brian
  3. While I’ve Got It on My Mind – (John R. Cash) – Nathan, Melissa
  4. Five Feet High and Rising – (John R. Cash) – Company
  5. Straight A’s In Love – (John R. Cash) – Brian
  6. Big River – (John R. Cash) – Nathan, Brian
  7. Waiting on the Far Side Banks of Jordan – (Terry Smith) – Melissa, Brian
  8. Daddy Sang Bass – (John R. Cash/Carl L. Perkins) – Company
  9. I Still Miss Someone – (John R. Cash/Roy Cash Jr.) – Mindy, Nathan
  10. Ragged Old Flag – (Traditional) – Nathan
  11. Get Rhythm – (John R. Cash) – Company
  12. Flushed from the Bathroom of Your Heart – (Jack H. Clement) -Mindy
  13. Dirty Old… Dog – (Jack H. Clement) – Brian, Nathan
  14. Oh Come, Angel Band – (John R. Cash) – Company
  15. If I were a Carpenter – (James Timothy Hardin) – Brian, Mindy
  16. Ring of Fire – (June Carter/Merle Kilgore) – Nathan Melissa
  17. Jackson – (Jerry Leiber/Billy Edd Wheeler) – Company

Act II

  1. Hey Porter – (John R. Cash) – Company
  2. Sunday Morning Coming Down – (Kris Kristofferson) – Scott Stowe
  3. Folsom Prison Blues – (John R. Cash) – Brian
  4. Cocaine Blues – (TJ Arnall) – Nathan
  5. Orleans Parish Prison – (Dick Feller) – Company
  6. Delia’s Gone – (John R. Cash/Karl M. Silbersdorf/Richard Toops) – Brian
  7. Man In Black – (John R. Cash) – Nathan
  8. Why Me, Lord? – (Kris Kristofferson) – Nathan, Company
  9. Concert Transition – Band
  10. A Boy Named Sue – (Shel Silverstein) – Brian
  11. Tear-Stained Letter – (John R. Cash) – Melissa
  12. Tennessee Flat-Top Box – (John R. Cash) – Nathan, Mindy
  13. Cry Cry Cry – (John R. Cash) – Nathan
  14. All Over Again – (John R. Cash) – Mindy
  15. I Walk the Line – (John R. Cash) – Company
  16. I’ve Been Everywhere – (Geoff Mack) – Company
Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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