by Leah Farris Lowe, September 11th 2018 – At it for 22 years, Jason Petty will jokingly tell you he’s been doing “Hank” longer than Hank did Hank. Tonight’s show marks his seventh year at the Derby Dinner Playhouse. He says he feels he has a home away from home here, and hopes to make a return next season for his eighth.
Playing to a packed house tonight, he offered more than just an impersonation as he took the audience on a trip back in time. Petty knows Hank like an old friend, and pays a loving homage to Williams with an oratoracle prowess that tells his story through both history and song.
Down to the subtlest of boot taps, he captures Hank’s nuances and lanky swagger.
If you close your eyes, short of the pops and cracks of an old vinyl LP, his voice is a dead ringer that will take you right back to the moment when you were first introduced to Hank. For me, it was my Dad’s old dusty albums echoing throughout my childhood home. Petty will tell you that this is one of his favorite things about doing this show – the people who come to him afterward to share how much Hank meant to them. “Maybe they listened to him with their Granddaddy, or there’s some special memory – they get to revisit that.”
His show is fun – it’s a bit of an emotional ride at times. You’ll laugh, and probably leave teary-eyed as he closes out the night with “I Saw the Light.”
We’ll hope to see him back at Derby Dinner next year. Read more about Jason Petty here.