• Laurel Contributor

What’s Happenin’ at the PAC?

By Mary Adair Trumbly

From the sounds of authentic honky tonk to the mashup tunes of “The Rat Pack of Opera,” the Highlands Performing Arts Center offers music Slightly Off of Center in September.

True blue fans of classic Country and Western Music will rejoice when Jason Petty takes to the Highlands Performing Arts Center stage at 8:00 P.M. Saturday, September 14.

There is only one Hank Williams...and only one actor who can bring him to life...Jason Petty. Jason is the only actor to portray Hank Williams in the hit Off-Broadway musical, “Lost Highway,” where he won an Obie and multiple nominations for his performance. Only Jason has portrayed Hank in “Lost Highway” at Nashville’s world-famous Ryman Auditorium.

“I played with Hank for many years and I was his best friend,” said Don Helms, a member of Williams’ band, The Drifting Cowboys. “No one in my time has come closer to Hank’s look, sound and natural charisma than Jason. He’s the best, hands down!”

“Jason Petty, who plays Williams, doesn’t just capture the phrasing and cadences of Williams’ singing,” says Rolling Stone’s Anthony DeCurtis. “He varies his delivery with the command of a performer who is fully inhabiting his character, not merely rendering him.  I was genuinely surprised, even stunned, by Petty’s forceful, clear-eyed and moving depiction of Williams.”

At 8;00 P.M. Sunday, September 29, Tenors Un-Limited (The Rat Pack of Opera) take the stage at PAC.

It all began in 2002.  With a nod to The Three Tenors, the guys set out to bring their own take on the popular classical genre and expand the perception of what a 21st century “Tenor” could be. 

The idea was simple: choose some of the most iconic songs across a variety of genres, stay true to the melody and incorporate rich harmonies to create their own unique sound.  Since then, Scott Ciscon (tenor,) Paul Martin (bass-baritone) and Jem Sharples (tenor) have performed all across the globe and are the UK’s original classical-crossover “man-band.”  

The clever combination of popular opera, musical theater, crooner standards, and original songs has been the key to their success.  That, combined with a wicked sense of humor makes their performance more than just a show and this is clearly apparent when ”The Rat Pack of Opera” takes to the stage.

Tickets are available at highlandspac.org or by calling (828) 526-9047.

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