‘Ring of Fire: Music of Johnny Cash’ comes to GSU

One of the influential musicians of the 20th century will be honored and his life story performed in a musical called ‘Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.’

The jukebox musical will be performed in the Performing Arts Center on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“Any students who are familiar with country music or rock music of today, they need to know where this stuff comes from. Pop, rock, blues, bluegrass, all of that is influenced by Johnny Cash. He’s one of those artists that inspired a lot of people and I think that if the Georgia Southern students were to come out to the show, they would be inspired as well,” Stacie McDaniel, PAC house manager, said.

A jukebox musical is a combination of songs that have already been written so they were not written specifically for the show. It is actually a collection of songs written and performed by Johnny Cash during his life and career. They combine it into different scenes about his life and the formation of his career. It takes you through a journey of his life, McDaniel said.

The musical is influenced by Johnny Cash’s life, struggles, love life and career. The music in the show is one of the main attractions, and fans will appreciate the selection.

“The music is, I think, the biggest draw. Johnny Cash crosses all kinds of genre boundaries. Not only is it country music, but its folk music, it’s rock music, it’s the root of a lot of the bluegrass and other music that people listen to today so I think that is the big appeal,” Juanita Smith, box office manager, said. “Also, just a really entertaining show and a really personal story about Johnny Cash, but it’s also, again, something really relatable. It touches on subjects about family and redemption and fame and, of course, has great music.”

Students are encouraged to attend and learn about Johnny Cash, the South, and experience the cultural exposure that the play has to offer.

“I think it will affect students. It’s a personal story and very touching, it’s got a lot of honesty and truth in it and that’s reflected in the music. And I think any sort of theatrical or cultural event that students can pick up while they’re in college helps round them out and makes them a well-rounded person so I think it will be an interesting experience to have,” Smith said.

The musical is designed to be relatable to all types of people. Cash’s life story makes him an icon to many and his story touches a vast audience.

“It’s a story of redemption. He really had a pretty hard life. He grew up very poor and he made his way into country stardom all the way from the bottom,” McDaniel said.

The story goes beyond Cash’s hard-knock life.

“It’s also a story of what fame can do to you. He got into drugs, hard drinking, alcohol and things like that. It’s about redemption from that point. He fell in love with a woman that helped him turn his life around and come back to find God again. Its an important story to tell what fame can do to you and how it can be turned around like that,” McDaniel said.