Saturday, March 21, 2015
Andy Matchett left me a message to let me know tech rehearsals were in progress for Hank Williams "Lost Highway at the Sonnentag Theatre at the Icehouse in Mount Dora. Andy stars in the show as Hank Williams. The show opened with Hank's mom sitting in a rocking chair on her porch reminiscing about her son's childhood. He was a mamma's boy. Opposite her on stage, a blues man sang a soulful tune. Hank went to this singer and played an early song he wrote about a UPA worker who was disgruntled. Hanks mentor asked, "Did you ever work for the UPA?" "No" said Hank. "Well, why you singing about someone Else's problems?" "You have to use your own experiences." Hank took the words to heart and is songs blossomed,
Hanks wife was an interesting character. She recognized his talents and helped promote him. Then she decided she needed to step into the spot light and sing. The trouble is, she was tone deaf. I grimaced when I first heard her and thought, how did they cast such an awful singer? But the actress probably had to rehearse many times to hit those notes. Hank let her sing beside him and even write a few bad songs. But his talents would drown her out until she would stomp off stage in a huff. His earnings he would hand over to her and he would never see a dime. He loved her dearly but also wanted to kill her at times. The attention she craved, she found in the arms of other men and eventually she left hank.
Hank Williams flame burned bright and he achieved all his success in his 20s. But he turned to drink and even performed drunk sometimes. He had a mean streak when drunk and his band mates just had to put up with it. A truck stop waitress tended her bar for much of the show. She acted as the narrator, explaining Hanks influence on the people of Alabama and the whole country. As Hank performed she would be bobbing her head or sweeping the floors to the sway and beat of his songs. Her love and appreciation of the music was contagious. She dreamed of one day escaping the waitressing and driving off in a fancy car. That dream came true when a drunk Hank Williams entered her cafe. She left with him that night and drove his Cadillac while they howled at the moon. Instead of being a romantic interlude however, he passed out. She stayed with him until morning but that was their only night together.
While being driven between gigs, Hank passed out in the back seat of his car. The driver thought he was sleeping, but he had died at the tender age of 29. There was enough alcohol and drugs in him to pickle the man, but the coroner politely wrote it off as a heart attack. The band released several albums after Hanks death and those sad songs were more popular than ever. It is as if people need a performer's sadness to feed off of even after death.
Hank Williams "Lost Highway" written by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik Directed by Darlin Barry runs from March 20 to April 12, 2015 at the Sonnentag Theatre in the Icehouse 1101 North Unser Street Mount Dora FL.
$20 All Adults (Fri- Sun)
$18 All Adults (Thursdays)
$17 Groups (15 or more)
$15 (age 18+ with student ID)
$10 (ages 5 - 17) Showtimes: Thursdays: 7:30 PM
Fridays: 8:00 PM Saturdays: 2:00 PM or 8:00 PM
Sundays: 2:00 PM
Call for Saturday show times