A Dreamy Ensemble Retrospective on the Life and Music of Johnny Cash at Plymouth Playhouse

By John Townsend November 13, 2014

Categories: Arts & Culture, Featured - Home Page, Our Scene

Candice Lively and Chet Wollan. Photo by Paul Nixdorf.

Candice Lively and Chet Wollan. Photo by Paul Nixdorf.

There are lots of cultural divisions in our society nowadays but one cultural figure who seems to endure whatever the collective mood swings are is Johnny Cash. Plymouth Playhouse has mounted a transporting production of the Richard Maltby, Jr.-Milliam Meade Broadway musical that chronicles his life and tunes.

Director Curt Woolan, in top form here, navigates the 30 plus songs with a sense that borders on the ethereal at times. When dealing with old time country music you will inevitably be thrown to sentimentality but Plymouth Playhouse’s splendid cast finds an emotional depth and an understanding of human survival that transcends that.

Both women and men play Johnny Cash, as well as the various people who figured into his epic life. That includes Dorian Chalmers who uplifts as the eternally delightful Minnie Pearl: Hooowwwwdddyyyyy!!! Veteran Plymouth Playhouse actor Tim Drake captures the rural spirit of an era long past. Amy Legrand demonstrates a vibrant gift for the fiddle. Jacob Aaron Cullum embodies Cash’s younger self vividly.

There’s a lyrical beauty to Woolan’s staging rustically enhanced by Katrina Benedict’s costumes, Jim Eischen’s lighting, Thomas Bothof’s sound design, and Susan Holgersson’s set.

Music Director Dennis Curley and choreographer Wendy Short Hays are deeply connected to the style and spirit of Cash’s life. Andy Carroll, Candice Lively, Charlotte Matis, Chad Willow, and Chet Wollan round out a dreamy ensemble.

Ring of Fire: The Life and Music of Johnny Cash
Through Nov. 23
Plymouth Playhouse, 2705 Annapolis Ln., Plymouth
(763) 553-1600
plymouthplayhouse.com

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