JOHNNY CASH IN A FLAMING RING OF MUSICAL FIRE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Singer, songwriter Johnny Cash was a good ole Arkansas boy who spread his trademark black cowboy hat over rock and roll, rockabilly, gospel and blues music as well as over his traditional country western songs.  His deep as the ocean bass-baritone and chicka-boom freight train warble, his clothing style of dressing all in black including a knee length black coat, his song themes of sorrow, love, loneliness and redemption, his brushes with the law and frequent concerts in prison all defined his dashing and mysterious highway man persona.

The Downtown Cabaret Theatre of Bridgeport is staging a tribute to the late, great Johnny Cash that is worthy of the man and his music.  While they can’t perform the more than one thousand songs he wrote, they surely try to hit all the highlights of his illustrious career.  This repeat show was brought back by popular demand and will only run two more weekends until Sunday, November 22.

Johnny Cash, who discovered he was descended from Scottish royalty, began singing with his sharecropper family by the age of five as he picked cotton.  His experiences growing up in the Depression colored some of his music while his troubles with drugs and alcohol cultivated his outlaw image.  Cash called every president from Richard Nixon on a friend and he had a special relationship with Jimmy Carter.  He was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is one of the few artists to sell over ninety million records.

Scott Keeton ignites the stage in a “ring of fire” as the legendary singer, even as he declares “I am not Johnny Cash.” A distant relative of the man, Keeton channels his exuberance and talent into giving the audience a thrilling ride “down the line” into Cash country, along with his great back-up band, the Roadhouse Blues Band.  His group features Jack Heilaman on guitar, Craig Weitz on bass and Bob Gourley on drums with the musical assist of a pert and peppy Ashley DePascale.  The fancy and frenetic fretwork flies!

More than two dozen hits like “Folsom Prison Blues” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Cadillac (One Piece at a Time),” “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” “I Walk the Line,” “Jackson” and “I’ve Been Everywhere” get royal treatment.

For tickets ($33 Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m., $39 Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.), call the Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street, Bridgeport at 203-576-1636 or online at www.downtowncabaret.org (exit 27A off I-95, to exit 2).   Guarded parking at $2 is available nearby.  Don’t forget to bring food and drink to enjoy at your table.  Performances are Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

It’s not too early to plan for New Year’s Eve with the Downtown Cabaret.  Come at 8:30 p.m. on December 31 for the movie “Saturday Night Fever” with John Travolta and stay for the balloon drop at midnight and after movie party and dancing with a DJ.  There are even prizes for best 80’s costumes.

Let Scott Keeton take you on a personally escorted tour of the musical world of the legendary Johnny Cash, the man Rolling Stone named as #31 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.  Yippee-I-O-Kayee!

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