In their fifth annual summer musical coproduction, Maine State Music Theatre and Portland Stage announce the rousing musical revue “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash” in a quasi-biographical musical show about the “Man in Black” playing at Portland Stage from Tuesday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 29.

Originally playing on Broadway in 2006, the show has entertained audiences across the country, and comes to Portland, with one of the original Broadway cast members, Eric Anthony, in the role of music director, and Maine native Scott Moreau in a starring role on stage. Moreau, a 22-year veteran of the stage, is most known for playing Johnny Cash on the Broadway National Tour of “Million Dollar Quartet” — in which he toured over 200 American cities, as well as Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.

The autobiographical nature of the music of Johnny Cash lends itself to seamlessly bridging narration and song. The five actor-musicians play fourteen instruments between them to share more than two dozen classic hits — including “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the title tune “Ring of Fire.”

“Cash’s talent and uniqueness earned him 11 Grammy Awards, the National medal of the Arts, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and memberships in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame,” say Katie Barton, a co-director the production, “But it’s not really his fame and commercial successes we like to celebrate in ‘Ring of Fire’ as much as his writing, his intellect and most especially his heart.”

Co-director Ben Hope adds, “The source material for the script, Johnny Cash’s autobiography titled ‘CASH,’ moved us from the first page. Reading it is like curling up in your grandpa’s lap and letting him tell you stories. … if your Grandpa was Johnny Cash! It’s intimate and funny and all-around heartwarming.”

Hope, who is married to co-director Katie Barton continues, “As a married couple directing this piece together, we really like to give weight to Johnny and June’s relationship because we truly admire it. As Mr. Cash would tell us, nothing he accomplished could ever compare to his greatest triumph: his 35-year marriage to the incomparable June Carter Cash.”

Portland Stage Company is located at 25 Forest Ave., Portland. Show times are at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 29. Tickets for the performances are $51-$70. Digital streaming tickets are available for $25. Tickets can be purchased through the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. as well as 2 hours before performance time or by phone at 207-774-0465, by email at [email protected] or sign up for tickets online at portlandstage.org.


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