Byron Civic Theatre hosts auditions for ‘Ring of Fire’ Feb. 26-27

Online Staff Report

BYRON, Ill. — It’s difficult to describe Ring of Fire. Along with the expected pre-show announcement about cell phones and candy wrappers, imagine the following to be heard before the show: “At tonight’s performance, the role of Johnny Cash will be played by … nobody.”

Unlike the feature film Walk the Line, which recounts a section of Cash’s life, in 38 musical numbers, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together in Ring of Fire. It is also not to be played as a concert at all. It’s more of a play composed of songs.

At the center of the show are six principals paired off to make three couples: young, middle-aged and older Johnny and June. Another couple take on the roles of many other people in Cash’s life. Add to that, eight musicians playing keyboards, guitars, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, dobro, drums and a host of other instruments.

Byron Civic Theatre (BCT) is in search of eight (four male and four female) very talented individuals who can sing and tell stories. The ability to play guitar would be a plus. The physical territory of the show is heartland, small-town and Southern, so the choreography draws on cake walk, two-step, polka and clogging.

The eight members of the band not only provide the music for the show, they are an integral part of the cast. They appear onstage during the entire production, sing backup on various songs, and appear in some of the stories. The band consists of one main keyboard, key 2 and rhythm guitar, electric guitar (lead), guitar 2 (primarily acoustic but some electric), guitar 3 (acoustic, dobro, harmonica), fiddle, bass (upright only) and drums.

Auditions will be at 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 26-27. The cast will be announced Monday, March 4.

During the first three weeks of March, the band and singers will meet two nights a week to learn music and get used to singing and playing together. Beginning March 25, BCT will add the staging and choreography, along with continued music work. The final three weeks will be spent onstage with band and cast working the music with the sound engineer, lighting designer and other tech staff.

BCT will build the rehearsal schedule around any conflicts chosen cast members may have. Once the schedule is set, BCT will expect cast members at all scheduled rehearsals.

This show is typically done by professional theaters. For a community theater to attempt a show of this difficulty, BCT will need all cast and band to commit to a “no miss” rehearsal policy.

Auditions will be in the Green Room of the new Byron Middle School Theatre and will resemble a “jam session” where auditionees and prospective band members will sit around and sing and play from the script. Casting will be based on talent, look and availability.

Prior to Feb. 26, send an e-mail with your basic information, instrument you play (if any), what you’d like to do in the show and your conflicts to the show’s directors, Dan Danielowski and Steve Bartscher, at

BCT is an all-volunteer organization. No members of the cast, orchestra, or production staff are paid for their performance.

Posted Feb. 20, 2013

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