By Abigail Amato
It’s a flashback to the early days of country music when Classic Nashville Roadshow takes the stage at Flat Rock Playhouse from March 8–18. Starring Jason Petty and Katie Deal, the show pays tribute to country and gospel classics that have stood the test of time. “Classic Nashville Roadshow was born,” Petty says, “when Katie Deal and I were cast to portray Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in the Barter Theatre’s production of Ring of Fire in Abingdon, VA, in 2014. We decided that modern country music had moved in a direction we weren’t happy with, so writing a show to pay homage to its greatest songs and artists was a natural progression.”
The show offers insight into the background of each song and artist and features entertaining performances by Petty and Deal. A backup five-piece band provides accompaniment on time-honored classics including “Stand By Your Man,” “On the Road Again” and “Jolene.” Authentic costumes and an evocative set complete the trip down memory lane with legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.
“With the popularity of early country music, deciding which artists and songs to feature was a challenge”, says Petty. “I anguished over every cut because of my love of the music, but we had to get the show down to two hours. That left us with plenty of material for a Classic Nashville Roadshow 2.”
Petty is no stranger to performing country classics, having begun his theatre career portraying Hank Williams in Lost Highway, which earned him an Obie award. He is currently developing a story on the life and music of Merle Haggard. Deal got her start in musical theatre portraying Patsy Cline in several productions including Always, Patsy Cline; Just a Closer Walk with Patsy Cline and her own tribute titled Today, Tomorrow and Forever. Deal is now working on a project about the women of country music.
Classic Nashville Roadshow debuted in 2015, in Richmond, VA, and has toured around the country ever since. This will, however, be its first performance at Flat Rock Playhouse, though two of Petty’s other productions, Hank and My Honky Tonk Heroes and Marty’s El Paso, have been performed there.
Also coming in March are Willy Wonka on the Mainstage, March 24 to April 2, and Music on the Rock: The Music of Simon & Garfunkel at Playhouse Downtown March 30 to April 9.
Tickets for Classic Nashville Roadshow range from $15 to $28. To learn more about Mainstage and Playhouse Downtown performances or to reserve tickets, visit flatrockplayhouse.org or call 828.693.0731.