Johnny Cash's music comes to life at Actors' Summit in 'Ring of Fire'

by April Helms Special Products Editor Published:

Fans of Johnny Cash can hear a variety of the songs The Man in Black was famous for singing at Actors' Summit Theatre.

A cast of four singer-instrumentalists, plus three musicians, bring the music to life, along with interesting facts about Johnny Cash's life. The cast includes Jennifer Browning, Scott Davis, Dana Hart and Brian Mueller of Tallmadge, with J.T. Buck on keyboard (he also joins in on one of the songs), Scott Sexton on percussion and Melanie Williams on trumpet.

The show seemed to be a hit with the opening night audience May 2.

"I just thought it was an absolutely wonderful show," said Virgil Dominic of Akron. "I marvel at the talent in this area, and how they bless us. It took me back to my childhood, where I played Johnny Cash records at home."

None of the actors try to imitate Johnny Cash; instead they perform the songs -- which include "5' and Rising," "Boy Named Sue," "Ring of Fire," "Sweet Bye & Bye," "Oh Come Angel Band" and "Flushed From the Bathroom" among many others -- playing to their own strengths while remaining true to the spirit of the music.

Richard Maltby Jr. and William Meade, who created "Ring of Fire" had plenty of music to chose from, said director Neil Thackaberry.

"I read several biographies getting ready for it," Thackaberry said. "What amazed me is that in his 50-year career, he recorded 54 full-length studio albums, and that does not include the compilations. He started out to do gospel but that wasn't selling at the time, so he started to perform country and rockabilly. He constantly reinvented himself."

Ticket and show information

"Ring of Fire" runs through May 25. Performances are given Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., and take place at Greystone Hall, in downtown Akron. The show is appropriate for all ages.

Tickets for "Ring Of Fire" can be purchased through the box office at 330-374-7568 and online at www.actorssummit.org. Tickets are $33 for adults, $28 for seniors over 65; and $10 for all full-time students under 30.

The theater is on the sixth floor of historic Greystone Hall in downtown Akron. The facility features barrier free access, free parking, and full bar service.

Next on stage

Actors' Summit's final show of the 2013-14 season will be "Back to Bacharach and David," which can be seen June 12 through July 20.

Actors' Summit also will host "Lights Up" on June 20 at 6 p.m. The evening will include cocktails, dinner, and a performance featuring area corporate and community leaders. Ticket prices range from $150 for individuals to $2,000 for a corporate table of 10.

For details on "Lights Up," contact Ellen Otto at 330-256-2001 or email e.otto@sbcglobal.net.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9438

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