Around Town: Last Chance to See “Hank”

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JASON PETTY as HANK WILLIAMS | Honky-tonkin’ ends this weekend

My wife Lee Ann and I twice sat down earlier this month with our calendars trying to figure out when we could get to The Temple Theatre to see “Hank & My Honky Tonk Heroes.” Busy schedules and the fact that she wasn’t too keen on seeing a show about Hank Williams delayed our going to the performance until last night.

And what a night it was.

I wrote about Jason Petty here a few weeks ago, when the show was set to open, and talked about seeing him on stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville back in 1997 in the performance of “Lost Highway,” the biographical look at the life of Williams, country music’s biggest superstar. I was in Nashville for a newspaper seminar and organized an outing for a dozen North Carolina newspaper folks who were there for the meeting. As a history buff, I was excited about going to the Ryman. As someone who never liked country music, I was less than enthusiastic about seeing “Lost Highway,” but that’s what was on the bill, so…

I was mesmerized then by Petty’s performance, and I think I can safely say Lee Ann was as well last night. We stayed after the performance to chat with Petty, and Lee Ann confessed to him that she wasn’t eager to go, despite the fact the she herself had played plenty of roles on the Temple stage upon her arrival in Sanford as a school teacher in 1987.

The curtain rises on “Hank” at 8 tonight and again at 8 tomorrow night before its final performance at 2 p.m. Sunday. I’ve heard several folks say they’ve gone back for multiple viewings because the show is THAT good.

Jason Petty is immensely gifted as a story-teller, musician and especially singer. His “Elvis” (one of the artists influenced by Williams) is not to be missed. Lee Ann and I were both moved by the performance. Check it out. You will be, too.

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