Hank Williams comes back to life at Barn Dinner Theatre in Greensboro staring Mitch Snow of Thomasville

By Milburn Gibbs
The Barn Dinner Theatre is poised to pull off the coup of the year with its
production of Lost Highway, The Music and Legend of Hank Williams.
This is a brand new play, and with it have come some unusual production
obstacles, according to Director Bobby Bodford, a 30-year veteran of the
theatre.
This production has just been released, Bodford said. We got it in
manuscript form, instead of a published script. We had to improvise and
create all the stage movement and props.
We had to interpret it. It is a challenge to direct.
The good news is Bodford and technical director David Gray have a stellar
cast to direct, although Mitch Snow, who portrays Hank Williams, had never
acted before.
I couldn't have gotten better dialogue had I hired a Hollywood coach,
Bodford said of Snow. Our opening night was more like a dress rehearsal, as
there was so much to do and so short a time to prepare.
Bodford has become a fan of Hank's music.
It is easy to see why Hank Williams was a legend, Bodford said. His music
wasn't written, it was born. Hank basically created country music. He was
just a hillbilly with a cowboy hat, and people loved his from-the-heart
music.
Musical director Chuck Martin has his hands full too, with a plethora of
songs in the show.
This production was done at the Rhyman Theatre in Nashville, and only
performed at a couple of other theaters, Martin said. This is a brand new
show with no guidelines to go by.
Snow is ably supported by J.W. Smith, as Tee-Tot, a street blues musician
who first took an interest in the teenage Hank; Georgia Rogers is the
lovable, hateable Miss Audrey and the waitress; Stephen Koppenhaver is Hoss
and plays bass in the band; Chuck Martin plays guitar and is Jimmy; John
Hofmann is Leon and plays a mean fiddle; Bill Davis is the steel guitarist;
Betsy Brown is Hank's mother the very outspoken Miss Lilly and Tim
Matson plays Pap, Hank's tour manager.
The production features more than 20 Hank Williams hits and ended with the
memorable Lost Highway and Your Cheating Heart.
The audience joined in on several songs, including Kawliga, Long Gone
Lonesome Blue and the standard, Lovesick Blues.
Snow is a fine musician and is learning to be an actor. Perhaps a bit
tentative at first, Snow warms to the task, and he becomes Hank in the
second act.
There is a very patriotic theme to this presentation, apart from some
delicious All-American food served by new chef, Chap Moser.
Both Snow and Martin are donating a portion of their CD sales to the
American Red Cross to aid relief efforts in New York.
The encores began with some sterling renditions of American music
appropriate to September 11.
This production has the opportunity to become a milestone for The Barn.
Don't miss the dynamic inter-workings of the cast.
The Barn is located at 120 Stage Coach Trail in Greensboro. Reservations
are required at (800) 668-1764. The production will run through November 18.
Seats are going fast.