Hank Williams Closes Off-Broadway; Unclear Where Show's Highway Will Lead

News   Hank Williams Closes Off-Broadway; Unclear Where Show's Highway Will Lead Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Manhattan Ensemble Theater's biggest hit to date, will end its run Off-Broadway Feb. 23. The show, which began performances Dec. 9 and opened Jan. 19, prolonged its run in the wake of solid reviews.

Hank Williams has been a candidate for a commercial transfer the last few weeks, but as of Feb. 21, nothing was definite. The show's creator, Randall Myler, told Playbill On-Line that negotiations with several groups of producers were ongoing. The Little Shubert remains a possible destination for a commercial run. There has also been talk of a national tour.

Hank is the latest work from Myler, the man behind It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and Love, Janis (about Janis Joplin) and the director of the upcoming California Dreamin' (about the Mamas and the Papas).

Like Love, Janis, which charted the career of rocker Janis Joplin, Lost Highway follows the career of a music legend: bedeviled country singer-songwriter Hank Williams. The show follows Williams from his beginnings in Alabama honky tonks to his glory days commanding the charts and the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to his rapid decline into erratic behavior and alcoholism. He died of a heart attack in the back seat of a Cadillac on Jan. 1, 1953. He was 29.

The show is interwoven with 25 Williams songs like "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" and "Hey, Good Lookin'" which are now part of the American musical fabric. Among Williams' other well-known tunes are "Move It on Over," "Lovesick Blues," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Settin' the Woods on Fire."

Myler co-wrote the show with Mark Harelik and will direct. Nashville native Jason Petty will play lonesome, star-crossed Hank, as he did at the Cleveland Playhouse, where Lost Highway played to Oct. 20. Versions of the show have also been seen at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The MET space is at 55 Mercer Street in Manhattan. For information call (212) 925-1900.