Continuing the trend started by Broadway's The Will Rogers Follies and Pump Boys and Dinettes, country-western musicals are popping up all over. Cowgirls is enjoying its run off-Broadway, and in October, Goodspeed Opera House's hit production of Honky-Tonk Highway, which enjoyed an extended run of 11 weeks in their Norma Terrace Theatre (CT) in 1995, transferred to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's Jaeb Theater, now playing through January 26.
Highway is a country-western/bluegrass musical set in a Tennessee roadhouse in 1970. The Mountain Rangers band stages a reunion concert and relives life on the road, sharing stories of love, friendship, and loss through the music that made them famous.
Kevin Fox reprises his role from the original production as Nat, and is joined by new cast members David Finch, Maggie Hollinbeck, James Stein, Jr., and Scott Wakefield. The actor-musicians play more than twenty instruments in the show that The Tampa Tribune called "really entertaining, foot stomping, hard-twanging fun."
Directed by Gabriel Barre, who directed the original production, Highway is produced by Goodspeed Musicals and features a book by Richard Berg, with music, lyrics, and additional dialogue by Robert Nassif Lindsey.
Honky-Tonk Highway plays through January 26 at the Jaeb Theatre in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Showtimes are Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm and 8pm. Tickets are $16.50 - $22.50. For reservations, call The Center Box Office at 813-229-7827 or TicketMaster at 813-287 8844, or refer to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center regional listing on Playbill On-Line. --By Bruce Stapleton