Hee Haw bringing laughs and music to Hancock
When “Hee Haw Comes to Hancock” this Friday, it will be complete with its own version of Minnie Pearl and the cast of characters in full costume, set amongst the hay bales and cornstalks of the fictional “Kornfield Kounty.”
Expect the sounds of laughter to pour out of The Hancock Performing Arts Center at Town Hall, where the one-night-only performance is being held.
The show was written by Jeanne Ward of Warfordsburg, Pa. She started writing shows after retiring in 2009 from Hancock Elementary School, where she was a teacher.
“I always liked to be a storyteller. I always wanted to write shows,” Ward said by phone.
Her first show, “A New Christmas Carol,” went over so well she kept writing.
“Hee Haw Comes to Hancock” features a cast of 18 performers from the Tri-State area.
It was the popular TV variety show, with its humor and country music, that inspired Ward’s script. The show aired from 1969 to 1971, was in syndication from 1971 to 1993 and then on TNN from 1996 to 1997.
The cast came up with their own costumes to resemble the ones in the show. They started rehearsing in May and have had about six rehearsals.
After the dress rehearsal the evening of July 21, Ward said “they really looked good, all dressed up in their outfits.”
The Hancock show features music from the regular musicians including Roy Clark, Buck Owens, Buck Trent, Grandpa Jones and Roy Acuff. Guest singers will pay tribute to Eddie Arnold, Jeannie C. Riley, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and Tammy Wynette.
“I kind of wrote it. I used material from the show and original jokes and made up a few also,” Ward said.
Ward plays host Minnie Pearl, complete with hat and its dangling price tag. She describes Minnie Pearl as “a refined lady, but very country.”
Dan Murphy is directing the production, which is a presentation of the Hancock Arts Council.
The show’s characters, including Maynard, Junior Samples, Lulu Roman, Archie Campbell, The Gossip Girls and The Hee Haw Honeys, will be portrayed in the show.
Friday, July 26, is the only performance of the show and Ward expects “a packed house.” Doors open at 6 p.m. and there are no reserved seats for the 7 p.m. show.
“It’s a mixture of jokes and music. I hope they leave laughing and with a good feeling that the old times are here to stay. It’s a feel-good event,” Ward said.
Top photo: Jeanne Ward dressed as Minnie Pearl for “Hee Haw Comes to Hancock,” a presentation of the Hancock Arts Council. (Submitted photo)