As biographical jukebox musicals go, this one certainly had a fascinating subject. Hank Williams, who in his short life managed to essentially invent the genre of country as we understand it today, was a tragic enigma of a man who was driven to an early grave by alcoholism and drug addiction, but whose depression and romantic heartbreak only seemed to fuel his magnificent songwriting. The show also had access to probably the greatest catalogue of songs ever produced by one songwriter in the country genre, with such legendary classics as “Hey, Good Lookin’”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, and “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You”. And they handled this fine material tastefully, skillfully striking a balance between musical-theater narrative and concert-like anthology, and creating what was by all accounts a charming little valentine to the great singer-songwriter. But the show has one fatal flaw that makes everything it achieves essentially pointless: Williams, in addition to his songwriting talents, was one of country’s most charismatic and distinctive performers, and no production of the show has ever been able to find a performer who could sufficiently match his own original renditions. On the off-Broadway recording, Jason Petty offers a cartoon version of Williams’ style, doing an over-the-top imitation of his vocal mannerisms while never remotely matching Williams’ clarity or soulfulness. Even with a better performer than Petty, the question remains—why sit through a concert by some mediocre imposter when Williams’ original recordings are all readily available? If they could find a truly uncanny imitator, like the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line found in Joaquin Phoenix, maybe they could make the show work, but those musical doppelgangers seem to be the purview of big-budget Hollywood films, not small-scale off-Broadway jukebox musicals, so while the show has become a minor local-theater staple due to its small budget and name recognition, the prospect of it ever finding such a performer seems unlikely. For all the show’s assets, I can’t really tell you that it’s worth your time, and its cast album, which reduces it to a string of badly-performed covers, should be avoided at all cost. If you haven’t heard Williams’ music yet, and you want to explore it, by all means go ahead, but stick with the real thing.