Playhouse Ignites ‘Ring of Fire’

By Donna Furey, Special to the Independent

2 ring Hilburn_Johnny CashWhether you can still recall feeding a quarter into a juke box and dialing up “I Walk the Line” or you’ve yet to meet country music’s “man in black,” “Ring of Fire,” which opens at Laguna Playhouse on Saturday, Jan. 11, promises a memorable journey through the life and music of Johnny Cash. Created by Tony-award winner Richard Maltby Jr. and conceived by William Meade, the show premiered in Buffalo New York at the Studio Arena Theatre in 2005 and first opened on Broadway in 2006. “Ring of Fire” has been produced all over the country ever since.

A cast of 10 performers, hailing from the Midwest and New England, will sing, dance and play multiple instruments, performing 35 songs, which convey the struggle, success, passion and ultimate redemption that formed the arc of Cash’s life.

As a tandem act to the Saturday, Jan. 18 matinee and evening performances of “Ring of Fire,” the former Los Angeles Times pop music critic and editor, Robert Hilburn, will discuss his book, “Johnny Cash: The Life.” Roseanne Cash called the work “the definitive biography” of her father’s life.

Robert Hilburn

Author Robert Hilburn talks about his Johnny Cash biography.

Based upon his personal experience with Cash, the book gives a compelling portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture, a towering figure in country music and a seminal influence in rock.

 Hilburn will speak about his book, answer questions, and sign books at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., preceding the 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. performances of “Ring of Fire.”

The show is “a great event for the entire family to experience some of the best music of a generation,” says Playhouse publicist David Elzer.

“This production is so full of life and so spirited… it is truly engaging, a wonderful tribute to the music and the man,” said Ann Wareham, the theater’s artistic director.

“Ring of Fire” runs through Feb. 2 at Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road.  Tickets can be purchased on line at lagunaplayhouse.com or at (949) 497

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