2’s Review: “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash”

2’s Review: “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash”

A true piece of Americana is playing out on the stage of the Florida Repertory Theater in Fort Myers.

“Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash” is like lighting an old flame as audiences fall in love all over again with the late great country giant’s music.

From the moment you walk into the theater and set eyes on the stunning well-lit set, you get a feeling it’s going to be a magnificent performance.

This show is undoubtedly stacked with a phenomenal cast who play multiple characters and impressively, various musical instruments.

Make no mistake though this is a jukebox musical and not a complex biography of the troubled singer’s life that was plagued with drugs and alcohol abuse.

The performance glazes the topics and the highlights of Cash’s career and his marriage to his wife June Carter Cash.

While the show contains a small cabaret-style cast, they are undoubtedly powerful musicians.

Johnny Cash himself is portrayed using two fine actors. Larry Tobias plays the older more mature Cash who at times narrates the story of his life and Tobias does a great job of conveying the sorrow and redemption the singer was known for.

Actor Matt Cusak does an outstanding job portraying the younger Cash and nails the bass-baritone voice he is perhaps best known for.

Allison Ann Kelly is a strong vocalist with the down-home southern twang and she is convincing at channeling wife June Carter Cash, a singer and songwriter in her own right. Kelly even takes on the drums and guitar while stunning the audience with her yodeling.

Actress Maggie Hollinbeck makes her Florida Repertory debut as Cash’s mother, who doubles as an endearing older June Cash and is great on the spinning piano, another added touch to the outstanding set.

Actor Armando Gutierrez plays Cash’s father and also stands out on multiple instruments throughout the performance.

Kudos to Director Jason Parrish for what is sure to be an award winner that he can add to his repertoire.

This show is no doubt a crowd pleaser that encourages the audience to clap and even sing along with 32 Cash favorites, including “Ring of Fire”, “I Walk the Line”, and “A Boy Named Sue” to name just a few.

The show is so wildly popular with Southwest Florida audiences that nearly all performances have been sold out and that has forced Florida Repertory to extend a week of encore performances to accommodate Cash fans. The performances now run through April 23.

There is still plenty of time to get your tickets to this “Grand Ole Opry” style event by calling the box office at  239-332-4488.