“OK folks, get ready to stand up and shout ‘Hallelujah!’, ‘cause we’re about to get downright spiritual up in here! Sing, stomp, shout, whoop and holler along with us, as we present … Hee Haw Person County: A Country Faith Community!!”
With those words, the third version of Hee Haw Person County will hit the Kirby stage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27 and at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 28.
The first Hee Haw Person County took the community by storm back in 2015, and was so popular that the Roxboro Little Theater presented its sequel, A Person County Hee Haw Country Christmas, the following year. But this time, the focus of the show is just a little bit different.
“I grew up in two very different Person County church communities,” says Eddy Daniel, the show’s director, who also directed the first two Hee Haw shows, and wrote the scripts for all three. “My dad’s parents were full-time farmers and faithful churchgoers in the Providence community, and my mother’s father was pastor of Roxboro Baptist Church for 18 years. You could say that we ‘did church’ both ways, town and country.” So church life was a big part of his childhood, and has remained a big part of his adult life. When the Roxboro Little Theater came looking for a third version of Hee Haw, Daniel says that building the show around the Person County communities’ lives of faith was an obvious choice. “Yeah, it was a no-brainer,” he says with a smile. “The faith life of Person County has always been one of our strongest shared community experiences. It’s important to us, and it’s important to me.”
This version of Hee Haw is full of church and preacher jokes. Daniel is quick to point out that it’s all in fun, and that great care has been taken not to give offense. “Folks take their church and their faith seriously,” he says. “And we respect that. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing funny about church life, because there is. Churches are made up of people, after all. And let’s face it, people are just plain hilarious.” A sneak peek at the script bears him out: there are dozens of jokes, skits, and sketches about life in church, funny goings-on with preachers, and traditional corny Hee Haw takes on just about everything having to do with the lives of people living in a “country faith community.” And it’s all backed up by a full range of old-fashioned gospel music by the full cast and the Hee Haw Band, along with returning guest artists the Fabulous Feet Cloggers, gospel singer Blair Miller, four-time National Senior Guitar Soloist Bert Delap, and local performing duo Mike and Lisa Autry. In addition, there are a couple of wild takes on some of country music’s most popular and best-loved gospel parodies. When asked about those, Daniel laughs, “Yeah, if you’re a fan of Ray Stevens or Charlie Daniels, you aren’t going to want to miss ‘The Person County Squirrel Revival’ or our own version of ‘The Devil came Down to Roxboro.’’’
Audience members who saw one or both previous Hee Haw shows will recognize many returning cast members, as well. This Hee Haw, like the other two, is full of zany characters straight out of the old Hee Haw TV show, including Roy and Buck, Archie and Grandpa, Minnie Pearl and Junior Samples, and Vern and Ida Lee, along with many others. A few new characters are added this time, too, like Sister Bertha, the Church Lady. The show is co-hosted by Margaret McMann, Executive Director of the Person County Tourism Development Authority, and John Hill, Director of Person County Recreation, Arts and Parks.
“Y’all come!” Daniel said. “A good time will be had by all, we guarantee it!”
Tickets are on sale now and range in price from $8 for students to $20. Tickets can be purchased at the Kirby Gallery, over the telephone with Visa/MasterCard/Discover/American Express, or online at www.kirbytheater.com. Concessions will be sold before the show and during intermission.
The Kirby Cultural Arts Complex is located at 213 North Main St., Roxboro. For more information, call the Kirby Box Office at 336-597-1709 or visit the website atwww.kirbytheater.com. Box office hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.