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Hero of honky tonk
Show pays tribute to country legend
Jason Petty will bring “Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes” to the Cumming Playhouse at 8 p.m. Friday. - photo by Submitted
If you’re going

Jason Petty stars as the late Hank Williams Sr. during one performance only at the Cumming Playhouse 8 p.m. July 4.

Tickets are $15 and can be ordered online at
A country music legend will soon be reborn at the Cumming Playhouse.

Actor and musician Jason Petty will present his show, “Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes,” at 8 p.m. July 4.

In the show, Petty stars as the late Hank Williams Sr., recreating his music and telling tales that bring to life the music icon.

Linda Heard, director of the Cumming Playhouse, said the show is a good fit for the venue.

“The senior Hank Williams’ music was a mainstay in the lives of people growing up in the [1930s] Depression era and ‘40s World War II era,” Heard said. “We have a rich heritage here in Forsyth County of World War II veterans, folks who weathered the Depression and lovers of old-time country music.”

Petty, a resident of Manchester, Tenn., about halfway between Chattanooga and Nashville, said he got his start playing Williams back in 1995 at the former Nashville theme park, Opryland.

“Right out of college, I worked there and did this country show. One of the impersonations was Hank Williams,” Petty said.

The director of the musical, “Hank Williams: Lost Highway,” was impressed with Petty’s ability to capture the late singer.

“He hand-picked me to play Hank,” said Petty, who went on to star in the production for two years at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry, and later toured with the show across the U.S. and Canada.

In 2003, he won an Obie (Off Broadway) acting award for his portrayal of Williams.

During the course of starring in the musical, Petty said he conducted intensive research on Williams.

“I talked to a bunch of the older guys and gals who had worked with him and they all had these great stories about the man,” Petty said.
“At the end of my run with Lost Highway, I had no outlet for all these great stories. I said, ‘Well, I can write a book or a show.’ So, I wrote a show.”

In that show, “Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes,” Petty again stars as the late musician, singing some of his greatest hits like “Hey Good Lookin’,” “You’re Cheatin’ Heart” and “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Petty said the show also reflects on the influence Williams’ short life had on the music industry.

“I’ve been Hank longer than Hank was Hank. He was only on the music scene six or seven years. I’ve been doing him, what, 10, 12 years now.
“It’s really amazing the influence he had to have just lived to 29.”

Added Heard: “Jason Petty ... will stir memories for those folks who know his music and possibly create a new love for those who will hear it for the first time.”

Even non-country music fans can find something to enjoy about the show, Petty said.

“There’s so much more to this show than just this type of music,” he said. “It’s a very fun, audience-interactive show. The kids will have a great time and go home singing ‘Hey, Good Lookin’.”

E-mail Crystal Ledford at