FORTVILLE – Derek Bond was a big fan of Johnny Cash even before he was cast to play the country legend in the upcoming Hee-Haw variety show.
“He’s one of my all-time favorites,” Bond said. “If I could go back in history and talk to one person, it would be him. He’d have interesting stories. Who wouldn’t want to have a drink with Johnny Cash?”
Bond, a 2015 Mt. Vernon High School graduate, is one of a dozen or so cast members performing in Ten West’s “Hee Haw Tribute Show” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Ten West’s Center for the Arts, 10 W. Church St.
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The show is based on “Hee Haw,” a television variety show that featured country music and humor starring Buck Owens, Roy Clark, Junior Samples, Minnie Pearl and Lulu Roman. The show ran on CBS from 1969 through 1971 but has continued on television in syndication.
Husband and wife team Rick and Holly Garrett, also known as music and comedy duo Patchwork, came up with the idea for the show. The two had success with the Hee-Haw-style variety show in Metamora. After an August Patchwork concert at Ten West, the Garretts collaborated with Ten West owner and operator Paul Okerson to bring the show to Fortville.
As director, Garrett encouraged his players to watch old clips of “Hee Haw” on YouTube. His version of the country variety show will blend word-for-word classic bits and characters from the weekly TV series including the Gossip Girls, who talk and sing while hanging laundry on a clothesline, Indianapolis comedienne Janette Perez as gospel singer Lulu Roman and actor Jeremy Brown as overall-clad used-car salesman Junior Samples.
It will also include original skits in Hee-Haw style.
Stand-up comedian Artie Widgery is part of the show, playing a character he created named Filbert. Garrett explains Filbert as “a backwoodsy country bumpkin who comes to the big city.”
The Indianapolis-area Slates Family Band is part of the show, as is Ryan Shelton, the creative energy behind Dr. Quip’s Traveling Extravaganza and Medicine Show. His troupe’s performance includes magic, juggling, mime performances and storytelling.
With just a week of rehearsals scheduled, Garrett isn’t worried.
“The show kind of puts itself together,” he said.
Most of the actors have worked together before, and Bond, as the only newcomer to the cast, is looking forward to portraying Johnny Cash.
“They asked me if I had bib overalls. I didn’t, but I did have all black,” Bond said, referring toCash’s iconic look.
The Garretts hope that the show will be well-received.
“People get super excited about this show because they remember watching it with their parents or grandparents,” Rick Garrett said.
WHAT: Hee Haw Variety Show
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday
WHERE: Ten West Center for the Arts
10 W. Church St., Fortville
DETAILS: Tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for children plus service fee online at tenwestcenter.org
Tickets can also be purchased at the door
Visit tenwestcenter.org for more information