RING OF FIRE: The Music of Johnny Cash
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Conceived by William Meade  Created by Richard Maltby, Jr.
      SHOW TIMES:        Thursday, August 11th -
Sunday, September 11th

Wed & Thurs 7:30pm / Fri & Sat 8:00pm
Wed & Sun 2:00pm

The Man in Black is back!  From the songbook of Johnny Cash comes this unique musical. The show follows a sort of ages-of-man path from green country-boy idealism into the sloughs of a hard-living musician’s disillusionment and on up to the mountains of spiritual redemption and the healing power of home and family. This musical contains 38 of Johnny Cash’s classic hits—including “Country Boy,” “A Thing Called Love,” “Five Feet High and Rising,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” and “The Man in Black” performed by a multi-talented cast.  Ring of Fire paints a musical portrait that is a foot-stompin’, crowd-pleasin’ salute to a unique musical legend!

Ticket prices:  $55 adult; $50 senior; $25 students of all ages

COVID Protocol As of August 10th:  Before admittance into the Playhouse, vaccinated patrons are asked to provide proof of vaccination (with photo ID). If you are not vaccinated or cannot provide vaccination cards, you must wear a mask.

If you are not feeling well or are experiencing symptoms of covid, please do not travel to the Playhouse. We will gladly switch tickets to another date within the same show (subject to availability).

The safety of our audience remains our primary concern. These guidelines are subject to change at any time during the show or season.


Brittany Brook* (she/her) is a Montana-made actor-musician and Family Content Creator. She is sharing loving kindness for our bodies, minds & community through her pandemic-born business–Moonshadow Music LLC. Brittany’s passion is leading sing-alongs around her guitar with kids and families of all needs. She and her husband, Matt Whitfield, love producing “The Moonshadow Show” – their YouTube kid series that talks with kids through the hard stuff Mr. Rogers-style. Follow her on YouTube and check out “The Moonshadow Show” original soundtrack on Spotify, iTunes, and wherever you listen to music!  SOCIAL:  moonshadow-music.com  @MoonshadowMusicLLC


David M. Lutken* is excited to be back at Ivoryton Playhouse where he was last seen as Edgar Wilson in last fall’s The Porch on Windy Hill (Connecticut Critics’ Circle Best Actor nomination). He also appeared here in Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie; The Road: My Life With John Denver, and in Ring of Fire in 2011. BROADWAY: Inherit the Wind; Ring of Fire; The Civil War; The Will Rogers Follies.  OFF-BROADWAY: Woody Sez (Outer Critics’ Circle, Off-Broadway Alliance & Drama League Best Musical nominations) Southern Comfort; Stars in Your Eyes; Winter Man; The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show.  N.Y. CITY OPERA: Paul Bunyan  LONDON: Woody Sez (Evening Standard Best Musical nomination); Dark of the Moon; Bonnie and Clyde; A Month In The Country.  REGIONAL: Our Town; Man of La Mancha; Big River; Elmer Gantry; Finian’s Rainbow; The Will Rogers Follies; Fire On The Mountain; Lost Highway; Buddy; Pump Boys and Dinettes; The Love List; The Man Who Came to Dinner; On Golden Pond; Mark Twain’s River of Song; Almost Heaven, and many others.  He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The 92nd St Y, at Cooper Union, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, with the North Carolina Symphony and the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, on NPR, the BBC, Polskie Radio Troika, ORF (Austria), Voice Of America, and The Louisiana Hayride. David and his wife, Sherry, have worked together on a wonderful variety of theater and performance projects across the country — and around the world — for twenty years. He’d like to thank Jacqui Hubbard and all the staff at Ivoryton for their continued support, not only of theater-of-the-well-known, like Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie, but also of new, risk-taking and ground-breaking works like The Porch on Windy Hill.


Morgan Morse* is an actor, musician, and writer originally from Ansonia, Connecticut. He is incredibly honored and excited to be back at Ivoryton Playhouse, and to be part of bringing this new piece of theatre to life. Other credits include The Porch on Windy Hill, Once, Godspell, South Pacific and Stand By Your Man here at Ivoryton, Once at the Cape Playhouse, Hootenanny the Musical at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Southern Comfort at the Public Theater in NYC, and Ring of Fire everywhere from Houston, TX to Vienna, Austria. In addition to theatre, he writes and performs original music which you can find online at soundcloud.com/morgan-morse


Leenya Rideout* Broadway: War Horse; Cyrano de Bergerac; Company; Cabaret. Off-Broadway: Wild Abandon, Irish Rep.; Before We’re Gone, 13th St. Rep.; Fire and Air & As You Like It, Classic Stage; Taming of the Shrew, Public Theater; and Cowgirls, Minetta Lane Theatre.  Regional: Almost Heaven, Riverside Theatre; Wild Horses, Merrimack Rep.; Into the Woods, HVSF; August Rush, Paramount; That Face, Baltimore Center Stage; Camelot & Secret Garden, Capital Rep; Fairfield, Cleveland Playhouse; Man of La Mancha, Milwaukee Rep; On Golden Pond, Casa Manana; Woody Sez, Theaterworks; Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Hangar Theater; Holidays with the Chalks, Alliance Theatre; Merrily We Roll Along, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.   Film:  Love, Repeat; Mona Lisa Smile;  Loser;  Bittersweet. Television: Bull (CBS); Company (PBS);   Nashville Star (USA Network), Jerry Lewis Telethon.   Original Cast album of Wild Abandon available online.  Love to Ted…


Nygel D. Robinson* is an artist based in Chicago, IL. Select musical theatre credits include Bro. Davis/ musical director in The Amen Corner (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Jimmy Powers in Lady Day (North Carolina Theatre), and Actor / Musician in The All Night Strut (Milwaukee Rep). Nygel Is the co-creator of MEXODUS, a new lived looped musical, alongside Brian Quijada, He is also a recording artist/music producer. 


Sam Sherwood* is thrilled to be back at Ivoryton Playhouse. He was last on this stage as Jesus in Godspell. Prior to that, you may have seen him as Guy in Once, Burt Reynolds in Stand By Your Man or in The Road: My Life with John Denver; Off-Broadway: Woody Sez (Irish Repertory Theatre), Fancy: A Country Musical; Regional Theatre: More than a dozen productions of Ring of Fire in the US and abroad; …Forum, Pump Boys & Dinettes, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Cotton Patch Gospel (Flat Rock Playhouse); Million Dollar Quartet (Arvada Center, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Geva Theatre Center, John W. Engeman Theatre); World Premiere of Million Dollar Quartet Christmas at Phoenix Theatre Company; Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (NC Theatre, John W. Engeman Theatre, Theatre by the Sea); TV: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  SOCIAL:  @sherwoodsounds


Spiff Wiegand* plays over 20 instruments and is an accomplished recording engineer and songwriter. He has been featured on TV with Jimmy Fallon and John Oliver. Spiff performs as a one-man band on up to seven instruments at once without using technology. He recently appeared as Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story. National Tours: War Horse, Fame. New York: Red Roses, Green Gold (Minetta Lane), New York Animals (Bedlam Theatre Company), Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre for a New Audience). Regional: The Buddy Holly Story (Music Theatre of CT, Florida Studio Theatre) Indecent (Palm Beach Dramaworks, Pittsburgh Public), Ring of Fire (Actors Playhouse Miami, Infinity Annapolis), Woody Sez (People’s Light, Houston Stages), Mark Twain’s River of Song (Milwaukee Repertory). Exclusive original music at www.Patreon.com/SpiffWiegand.


Director and Choreographer: Sherry Lutken

Musical Director: David M. Lutken

Stage Manager: James Joseph Clark*

Scenic Designer: Cully Long

Lighting Designer: Marcus Abbott

Costume Designer: Elizabeth Saylor

Sound Designer:  Jacob Zonderman

* member of Actors Equity


Monday, August 22nd – BROADWAY AT IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE cabaret with Schuyler Beeman

Thursday, August 25th – Deep River Democratic Town Committee fundraiser

Monday, August 29th – YOU AND I cabaret featuring Charlie Widmer and Eric Trudel

Thursday, September 1st – Lyme Public Library Foundation fundraiser

Check back here for press releases, photos and video clips!

The show takes its name from the title of one of the hit tunes of a Country Music icon — singer-songwriter Johnny Cash — but RING OF FIRE, conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr., is more than a biography of The Man in Black. Drawing from the incredible cache of Cash’s songs, Meade and Maltby have crafted a musical mosaic of American experience.

This stunning, moving, uplifting musical that has played to sold-out houses across the country, as well as on international stages is opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on August 11th. Maltby says, “It’s about home and family and getting together and loving somebody, it’s about what holds you together in the face of a hard life, it’s about the really basic family values.”

RING OF FIRE’s song list includes more than two dozen of Johnny Cash’s unforgettable hits: Folsom Prison Blues, Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, A Boy Named Sue, Hey Porter, Daddy Sang Bass, I Walk the Line, I’ve Been Everywhere, The Man in Black, Big River, I Still Miss Someone, If I Were a Carpenter, Jackson and more.

The show is directed and choreographed by Sherry Lutken (The Porch on Windy Hill, Million Dollar Quartet, Stand By Your Man). The cast includes Morgan Morse* and Sam Sherwood*, who have both been seen many times in Ivoryton, as well as newcomers, Brittany Brook*, Leenya Rideout*, Nygel D. Robinson* and Spiff Wiegand*.  David M. Lutken*, a member of the original Broadway company of Ring of Fire, and a favorite from his many appearances here, including last season’s premiere of The Porch on Windy Hill, appears in this production and serves as Music Director.

RING OF FIRE: THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH runs through Sunday, September 11th, 2022. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm; evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm.

Also, a special treat after RING OF FIRE’s Sunday matinees, don’t forget the Hootenannies with the cast — on the patio (weather permitting), free-of-charge at 5:00. Come, sing along, bring your instrument and play along — join in the fun!

This season, the Playhouse is back to full capacity for the first time in two years, yet the safety of our audience remains our primary concern. Masks are optional with proof of vaccination and required for those without a vaccination card.

Our patio bar will now be open from 7pm on Friday and Saturday nights before the show where we will be serving red and white wine, rose, prosecco and beer. Cash and credit cards accepted. Come early to the Playhouse and enjoy a relaxing drink before the show.

SixTix on Thursdays returns this season – half price tickets at the door after 6pm. Call ahead to check availability.

Tickets are $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $25 for students. Tickets are available online at ivorytonplayhouse.org or by calling the box office at 860.767.7318. (For information on group rates, please call the box office.) For more information on the entire 2022 season, visit ivorytonplayhouse.org. The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

*Denotes a member of Actors Equity


Looking for something to do?  Ivoryton Playhouse has been voted best place to see live theatre by readers of The Shoreline Times for three years in a row.  Come to Essex and visit our historic, professional theatre – a Connecticut treasure!</strong>

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Did You

Johnny Cash was more than a songwriter. He was a writer in the broadest sense. As a child, Cash wrote poems, and he continued to write stories as a teenager. Cash’s first published piece was called “Hey Porter,” which appeared in a military newspaper. In 1975 he wrote his first autobiography, "Man in Black", and in 1997 he wrote his second autobiography, "Cash: The Autobiography". Both were penned in longhand in notebooks. Cash was also a novelist. He published "Man in White" in 1986, which was a fictional account of six years in the life of the apostle Paul. Cash considered the novel to be one of his greatest achievements. Fun Fact: Cash was an ordained minister. In the 1970s, after more than two years of study, Cash received a degree in theology. He presided at the wedding of his daughter Karen.