The ‘La Musique room’ located in St Michael Mn was transformed into Folsom State Prison and the Johnny Cash Tribute Drama came to reenact a concert for the inmates!
All audience members knew they were in for a treat upon entering the theater of Folsom State Prison, as they became the inmates while escorted by guards to their seats. The atmosphere was charged but all in attendance had to obey to the direction of the guards, or they would get a week of solitary confinement! The ‘inmate’ crowd was excited to see Johnny Cash, however the Warden was cautious and had his guards were on high alert – pacing to and from ensuring all would behave.
The Folsom Prison Experience theater drama had an all-star tribute lineup with Carl Perkins, Tennessee Three, The Statler Brothers, June Carter, and Johnny Cash. Hugh Cherry, the animated DJ from Los Angeles, was eager to get the concert started as he wanted the Folsom Prison recorded for a Columbia Records album! Hugh first introduced Carl Perkins on the stage to which he performed his popular hit ‘Blue Sued Shoes’. Next, he introduced the very talented Statler Brothers who sang ‘Flowers on the Wall’ that got all the inmates tapping their toes to the catchy beat. Hugh then introduced the background band of 13 years for Johnny Cash -The Tennessee Three and they jammed out a whimsical fast beat guitar song that stirred enjoyment from each inmate in the theater!
Hugh turned on the tape-reel recorder as the Man-in-Black came out on the stage and walked up to the old-fashioned mic. He looked out over the prisoners, and with his rich baritone voice stated “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”! At this point, the concert was on, and the adventure of the Folsom Prison Experience was in full swing! Lead off songs included “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I got Stripes”, and “25 Minutes to Go”. June Carter was then introduced to which she read a fun poem before singing the iconic duet song with Johnny titled “Jackson”.
The Warden, as in the movie “Shawshank Redemption” was very anxious towards the prisoners and Mr. Cash throughout the show which added a lot of drama to the performance. There were confiscated contraband items found during the concert and a few prisoners tried to break free sending the guards running in all directions with the lights/alarms chiming! Before the second half of the concert started, a strict rollcall was completed to ensure all prisoners were still in the prison theater room. Meanwhile, DJ Hugh Cherry was equally animated through the concert as his intentions were to get the finest recording for Columbia Records! He interrupted Johnny several occasions to direct the concert to what the thought would be best for the album. Johnny continually steered the concert in his direction – which was to simply play music for the prisoners!
The inaugural performance of the Folsom Prison Experience was created/performed by Jay Ernest (Church of Cash – A local Johnny Cash Tribute Band) and directed by Stephanie Long. It was well put together and kept all audience members engaged for the two-hour tribute drama that included many top hits from Johnny Cash. If one was not aware, they would have sworn it was Johnny Cash himself singing the hits as Jay interprets perfectly Johnny Cash’s voice. The additional cast was filled with great talent including the likes of Kat Perkins (June Carter), Ryan Maddux, Dan Hopman, and The boys from Hitchville Band! Reviews from the audience members to describe Folsom Prison Experience included: Amazing! Awesome! Wonderful Time! Ear-to-Ear Smiles for the WHOLE show!
This show was highly entertaining and recommended grabbing a ticket to see the final preview show! Will the Warden reduce his tensions for the concert? Will Hugh get his recording for Columbia Records? Will there be any prisoners sent to the hole? Does June Carter help Johnny Cash with a potential huge-hit song? A bit of advice if attending – be sure to obey the guards!! Click here for the link to the Folsom Prison Experience where you can purchase tickets and follow future shows!