OFFBEAT: Johnny Cash and 'Beverly Hillbillies' take Munster stage in 2014

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-09-11T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Johnny Cash and 'Beverly Hillbillies' take Munster stage in 2014By Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

We lost singer Johnny Cash far too soon at age 71.

Tomorrow marks the 10-year anniversary of the passing of Cash, on Sept. 12, 2003, at his home in Nashville. His wife June Carter died at age 73, just a few months earlier in May, the same year.

Before catching last week's performance of "Million Dollar Quartet," which features Cash and his music, I hadn't remembered just how much I love Cash and his song hits, which crossed over both country and mainstream charts.

Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, has just announced their exciting 2014 season, billed as "an unprecedented season full of never-before-seen Chicagoland premieres."

And at the top of the list, is the area premiere of "Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash," what I'm told is a unique musical about "love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and home and family." It will run Feb. 20 to March 30 and is created by Richard Maltby Jr. and conceived by William Meade, featuring 38 of Cash's most famous songs.

It's followed by "Miracle on South Division Street," what's best described as "a warm and humorous play about a working class family living in Buffalo, New York," which will play May 1 to June 1 and is written by Tom Dudzick, author of the Chicago area favorite "Over the Tavern."

Fans of the television hit "The Beverly Hillbillies" should mark calendars for the World Premiere of "The Beverly Hillbillies, The Musical," featuring the well-known and beloved characters from the CBS series. The production runs from July 10 to Aug. 10. The book, adapted from some classic episodes of the show, is by David Rodgers and the lyrics and music are by Chicago composer Gregg Opelka.

In the first North American production since its Broadway debut at the Lincoln Center, the madcap musical "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," based on the Spanish film of the same name, runs Sept. 11 to Oct. 19, 2014. Created by David Yazbek for music and lyrics, and Jeffrey Lane for the book, they are the team behind "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

For the holidays, the Chicago area premiere musical "A Christmas Memory," based on Truman Capote's famous short story, runs Nov. 13 to Dec. 14 and the creation of the Broadway veteran team of Duane Poole, book; Larry Grossman, music; and Carol Hall, lyrics. Based on Capote's story, it is a musical memoir set in a small southern town and follows the comic adventures of two misfit cousins, celebrating the simple pleasures of life and the joys of giving.

Season subscriptions are available for $150 or $160. Special Subscription Series Events include: the Wine & Theatre Series, the Dinner Theatre Series and the Opening Night Series. Also available are the complimentary Talkback Thursday post-show discussions and 2nd Saturday Symposium, to provide insight into the creative process. Meal packages are available for select matinee and evening performances, located right across from the theatre lobby. New 2014 Season Subscriptions are now on sale for renewals, and on Oct. 15, 2013 for new subscribers. Individual ticket prices for 2014 range from $40-$44 and go on sale Dec. 16, 2013. FYI: (219) 836-3255 or (for single tickets only) at (800) 511-1552. Group discounts are available for groups of 11 or more and gift certificates are also available by calling the Box Office or visit

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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