Whether you know you know them or not, most people know and have been touched in some way or another by the music of the Hank Williams. This became very apparent to me as I sat beside my 10-year-old son at Campbellton Landing on Friday night, and listened as he sang along with a number of the songs performed by the Cape Fear Regional Theatre cast of Hank Williams: Lost Highway.
We have an ecclectic taste in music in our house, but I can’t say we own any Hank CDs, but somehow through television, movies and the radio, my child had been touched by the genius that is Hank. As I looked around the Sol Rose Amphitheatre, it was easy to see he wasn’t alone. Feet were tapping, lips were moving and members of the audience were being drawn into the memory of a musical legend.
Director Gina Stewar and her mult-talented cast have brought the legend, the mystique and the pain of Hank Williams to life.
They tell each moment with such passion, that you feel you are at his funeral. You watch as his friends and family try to save him from himself. You see his search for redemption.
Because Hank is music, the show is all about the music — and let me tell you, it is good. T
hroughout the performance the cast performs more than 20 of Williams’ songs. Much of the weight of this show rest on the shoulders of Cliff Hale, a Clayton computer programmer. This is Hale’s first time performing in a theatrical show, but you couldn’t tell. He came across like an old pro.
When you go down to see the show, and I know you will, the first thing you’ll notice is Hale’s striking resemblence to Williams, the second is his voice. Close your eyes and listen. You’ll swear it’s Hank Williams singing.
Hale is backed up by the talented local bluegrass band The Parsons, comprised of Cumberland County residents Jon and Caroline Parsons and Jerome Hawkes.They do a stellar job with the music and as Williams’ band.
CFRT veterans Libby McNeill Seymour, Jonathan Flom, Rebekah Wilson MacCredie and Nicki Hart round out the local cast. They all turned in stellar performances,which is expected from this talented group.
Bringing the Blues to the show as Charlotte singer/poet Roger Davis who played Tee-Tot, the man who taught Williams how to feel his music.
You have one more week to enjoy this show, you’re going to want to make sure you get down to the river and take it in. It’s a don’t miss.
For show times and tickets, visit www.cfrt.org.