Interview with Damon Kiely and Matthew Brumlow
by Kelli Marino, dramaturg
KM: What is the story you want to tell through creating HANK? What do you want audiences to take away?
DK: I think Hank was always struggling to get into the light, but I think he also knew that it was in the shadows where he found his best material. He wanted to be a great singer and to do that he needed to live through pain, which tore him apart in the end.
MB: I am really excited to introduce people to Hank who might not be as familiar with his music as well as celebrate with those who already know and love his work. Hank was one of the first mega stars of country music and he forever changed the way people thought of the country music label. He left an indelible impression on those that came after him. It would be reason enough to tell his story due to the huge catalog of great songs and number one hits he left in such a short career. It would be enough to tell his story due to the records he set for live performances done on the road in a year. But it really was how he did it. Hank was one of the first to inject the Blues into Country…but it wasn’t simply the music—it was really the “Blues.” He felt every syllable he sang. Colin Escott (who is my favorite biographer of Hank) said “His songs transformed and transcended the country label by looking deep inside and Hank was unafraid to confront what he found there. He taught people that is was alright to bear your soul and bear it in everyday plain speech.”