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Hank Snow musical play returning to the stage

Musician Rob Brown is portraying Hank Snow in the play, ‘In My Wildest Dreams.’
Musician Rob Brown is portraying Hank Snow in the play, ‘In My Wildest Dreams.’ - Submitted

Play tells tale of author’s chance to meet Queens County’s favourite son

‘In My Wildest Dreams,’ a country music play about Hank Snow, will soon hit the stage at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre. 

Co-written by Marge Hemsworth and Charles Salmon, the play is the opening show at Eastern Front Theatre’s STAGES Festival May 22 to 25. 

Hemsworth, 80, is delighted about ‘In My Wildest Dreams’ being part of the STAGES Festival. 

“Sam Rosenthal, the artistic producer, reached out to me on Facebook. He had heard wonderful things about our play at the 2017 Fringe Festival,” said Hemsworth. “So Charles and I went to see him and he invited us to be part of the STAGES Festival. We are thrilled.”

Hemsworth says ‘In My Wildest Dreams’ is the story about how Hemsworth and Snow became friends. They met when Hemsworth was 18 and Snow was 42. They remained friends for life. 

At the 2017 Halifax Fringe Festival, ‘In My Wildest Dreams’ won the People’s Choice awards for best show and best performer for Kimberley Cody’s portrayal of Hemsworth.

“The live music and Hank Snow’s songs performed by musician Rob Brown are a big part of the play’s popularity,” said Hemsworth. 

“Our play was so popular that it completely sold out before the Fringe even opened – the first time in Fringe history,” said Salmon. 

Hemsworth says everyone who saw it liked it. 

“And they told others, but because the show was sold out, so many people couldn’t get tickets. With our show opening the 2018 STAGES Festival, here’s their chance,” she said. 

About the play

Set in a beauty parlour in Halifax in 1956, with a strong Maritime flavour, ‘In My Wildest Dreams’ is based on the true story of the real-life friendship between Marge Fortune, a hairstylist (played by Cody) and country-music legend Hank Snow (played by musician Rob Brown).

Marge Hemsworth is the co-writer of ‘In My Wildest Dreams,’ a show about Hank Snow. The play is scheduled to appear at the STAGES Theatre Festival in Halifax May 22 to 25.
Marge Hemsworth is the co-writer of ‘In My Wildest Dreams,’ a show about Hank Snow. The play is scheduled to appear at the STAGES Theatre Festival in Halifax May 22 to 25.

In the play - as happened in real life - Fortune takes a trip to Nashville, where her life changes forever. In Nashville, Fortune meets Marty Robbins and Minni Pearl, Snow’s wife Min, and visits ‘Studio C’ at WSM, where she meets her idol Snow. At the old Ryman Auditorium, she gets to see Snow perform and later visits Rainbow Ranch, Snow’s home in Nashville. 

“The show plays with time and space and sound. Boundaries are fluid,” said co-writer Salmon. 

Breaking the fourth wall by talking directly to the audience, Fortune shares her inner voice (her thoughts and aspirations) with the audience, and her outer voice (meeting Snow) as she is cutting and styling the hair of her imaginary customer. Snow talks and sings to Fortune as her dreams come to life. 

Snow’s costumes were designed by Betty Lou Brown for her husband, performer Chet Brown of Greenfield.

“I actually get to wear a costume that Hank Snow wore. That’s kinda cool,” said Rob Brown, who portrays Snow.

Hemsworth says Snow wrote more than 800 songs in his lifetime and had a number one album every decade for four consecutive decades. Hemsworth says Snow’s story is inspiring. 

“Hank Snow was born in Brooklyn, N.S. – just outside Liverpool – and he married Minnie – an Aalders girl from Fairview, here in Halifax. Minnie was lovely. Hank was a consummate performer, a true professional and a gentleman. He always treated me like a lady. I was friends with him for 43 years – until he died in December 1999,” said Hemsworth. 

Hemsworth was interviewed a few years ago for Vernon Oickle’s book about Hank Snow, titled ‘I’m Moving On.’

Four performances are scheduled. People can see the play May 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. or May 24 and 25 at 9 p.m. For tickets, call the Neptune Theatre box office at 902-429-7070.

For information about ‘In My Wildest Dreams,’ visit www.hanksnowtheplay.com or visit the Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/hanksnowtheplay/. To learn more about the STAGES Theatre Festival, visit http://www.theatrens.ca/events/stages-theatre-festival-2018-2/

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