Ring of Fire Actor Profile – Jenna Payne

July 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

I graduated from Carthage College with a B.A. in Music Theatre and Theatre in May of 2014. Since then, I have been working professionally with JPAC Theatre (Big Fish), BrightSide Theatre (Rumors), Williams Street Rep at the Raue Center for the Arts (Beehive the ’60’s Musical), and Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day). Joe Keefe (Metropolis’ Executive Director) actually attended my show at the Raue Center (Beehive) and that’s how the conversation of me playing June began. He thought I would be great for Ring of Fire and encouraged me to audition for the show. Since then, I have really immersed myself in learning as much as possible about June and Johnny Cash.
In Metropolis’ production of Ring of Fire, I am portraying the early days of Johnny and June’s relationship. So, I am introduced when she is starting out as a comedic character actress. The major feature film, Walk The Line, really centers in on their relationship, and our show focuses on the music they made together, rather than exposing those emotional trials they went through.  My favorite part about this role is definitely the music. I am lucky enough to be singing “Ring of Fire” with Tommy Malouf and it definitely means so much to know that June actually wrote that song!  My goal is to honor June Carter Cash and the music she made with Johnny, so it certainly helps to know that she specifically crafted that song to portray their magnetic relationship. The song “Ring of Fire” is definitely a staple in country music, but it also is such a staple piece in Johnny and June’s relationship.
I am proud of Metropolis’ unique production of Ring of Fire; It has really become such a collaborative, ensemble show. I love how Joe and Robin have re-imagined these signature Johnny Cash songs, but are intent on keeping that authentic Cash sound. It’s all about the music and the moments the music creates.

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