Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Show Hank Williams Never Gave (and Janis Joplin too)

Back around 1979 or so, I was reading the Kansas City Star and happened to notice a stage show was coming to Kansas City:  It was "The Show Hank Williams Never Gave".  Hank died on the way to do a show in 1953, and this play portrayed what that show might have been like if he had lived.

Now, you can't be a country music fan if you don't have some sort of interest in Hank Williams.  I asked (begged) Cliff if he'd mind going; we'd get a ticket for his mom, too, because she loved country music with a passion.  Cliff reluctantly agreed.  He didn't like going places back then any more than he does now.   

When the big day came, Cliff had something going on, probably a project of some sort, and said, "Why can't you and Mom just go without me?"  

Well, I had three tickets.  I really wished he'd go, but I could see he was adamant.  As luck would have it, we had a very musical (country musical) family living next door, so I invited their teenage daughter to come with us.  Ronda agreed to join us.  (For local friends who read this, her last name is Baugus now... you might know her.  She sings.)

We arrived and took our seats, and soon the show started.  When the announcer introduced Hank Williams, the actor, whoever he was (possible Sneezy Waters), came out dressed like Hank.  He could sing pretty much like Hank, too.  There was some chatter back and forth between the actors, everybody calling the guy "Hank", and at one point Cliff's mom said, "Why are they acting like that man is Hank Williams?"

She didn't understand it was a play, even after I explained it to her.  

You only had to watch the first fifteen minutes of the show before you genuinely felt like you were watching the real Hank Williams on New Year's Day, 1953.  The guy didn't look that much like Hank, but he sang like him and was dressed like him.  He pulled it off quite well.

I've always regretted the fact that Cliff didn't go, because I've never forgotten it, it was that good.  

Last summer I had a similar experience when a granddaughter and I went to see "A Night With Janis Joplin".  I became a Joplin fan rather late in life, and quite unexpectedly, but I've never looked back.  Mary Bridget Davies portrayed Janis so well it was like we were seeing Janis, live and in person.  There was a scene where Janis and Aretha Franklin sang together that was unbelievable, my favorite part of the show.  I wish I knew who played Aretha.  All I can say is, she did the part justice.  I wish I could see it again.  If you like Janis and have an Amazon Prime account, the songs from the sound track are free to listen to HERE.  

You never know how much a movie or stage show is going to touch you.  The price of those tickets was worth every cent.  

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