Wednesday, August 27th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will partner with Barter Theatre to present Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Admission to the show is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors over 65, and $12 for children under 16. Tickets may be purchased in advance through Barter Theatre or at the door the night of the show. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Created by Richard Maltby, Jr., conceived by William Meade, and adapted from the Broadway Production by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Jason Edwards, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash brings to life one of the greatest musical legends of all time. As music historians know, the life and music of Johnny Cash is forever linked to the Carter Family of Scott County, Virginia, through his marriage to June Carter. June’s mother was Maybelle Carter – one of the Original Carter Family. After the Original Carter Family disbanded, Maybelle Carter went on to forge a career with her daughters as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. After June’s marriage to Johnny Cash, the act became part of the Johnny Cash Show. Thus the music of Johnny Cash and the Carter Family traveled the world and is known worldwide.
Barter Theatre and the Carter Family Fold first partnered in 2002 to present Keep on the Sunny Side – a beautiful play written by Dr. Doug Pote of Chilhowie, Virginia. The play ran many times at Barter, was presented multiple times at the Carter Fold, and toured the U.S. It has been presented since that time at various theaters throughout the U.S. Barter’s most-requested play, it forged a connection between the Carter Family Fold and Barter as well as the Carter Fold and Barter Theatre “families” that continues to this day.
Virginia’s State Theatre, Barter was created due to one man’s idea to have patrons pay with produce. From that humble beginning, Barter has grown today into a year-round theatre with more than 160,000 visitors each year. During the Depression, Robert Porterfield, an enterprising young actor, returned to his native southwest Virginia with an extraordinary proposition – bartering produce from the farms and gardens of the region to gain admission to see a play. So on June 10, 1933, Barter Theatre opened its doors, proclaiming With vegetables you cannot sell, you can buy a good laugh. The price of admission was 40 cents or the equivalent amount of produce. Four out of five attending in the Depression-era paid their way with vegetables, dairy products, and livestock.
The actors performing at the building were distracted not only by the occasional squealing pig or clucking hen, but noise from the town jail, which was located directly beneath the stage. Later used as a holding area for dogs suspected of rabies, it was eventually converted into dressing rooms for Barter actors. To the surprise of many, all the seats for the first show were filled. The concept of trading “ham for Hamlet” caught on quickly. At the end of the first season, the Barter Company cleared $4.35 in cash, two barrels of jelly, and a collective weight gain of over 300 pounds. Today, at least one performance a year celebrates the Barter heritage by accepting donations for an area food bank as the price of admission.
See part of Carter Fold’s history come to life by joining us for the presentation of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash. Johnny’s last performances were on the stage of the Carter Family Fold – and that’s just how he and the Fold wanted it. Johnny was one of the Fold’s biggest advocates – performing many benefit concerts to help establish the venue and later to sustain it. He and June, along with all the Carter Family, helped create the Carter Family Museum and later relocate and rebuild the A.P. Carter birthplace cabin. Johnny Cash embraced the Carter Family with arms wide open – and an entire family did the same for him. Johnny’s career is unparalleled in terms of the types of music he’s known for – country, rock, folk, and gospel. His career spanned his entire lifetime, and he never stopped recording or creating. Undoubtedly, his version of Hurt will go down in history as one of the greatest recordings of all time. With a heart as big as Clinch Mountain itself, he touched the lives of everyone who ever heard him or knew him. The Fold is honored and humbled to present Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.
You can contact Barter Theatre by phone at 276-628-3991 or visit them on the web at http://www.bartertheatre.com/.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.
Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.