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Willie's Son

even Hack's theatrical valentine to his relationship with his late father won't set the world ablaze; it can scarcely be described as a champion entry in the crowded solo show sweepstakes. Yet the easygoing 80 minutes pass by quickly and enjoyably, thanks to the warmth, humor, and poignancy that Hack brings to his autobiographical anecdotes. His acting, singing, and dancing talents come into play during his reflections on a successful showbiz career and the family ties that have anchored his life journey. Hack is among the founding members of Interact, having acted in shows there ranging from Death of a Salesman to A Little Night Music. His lengthy resume includes plays, musicals, television, film, and commercials. The chronology of events that he relates suggests that he is fiftysomething, yet his sense of youthful enthusiasm and spry song-and-dance efforts evoke a charming, boyish quality. With the set for the Interact's current Guys and Dolls providing a backdrop with flair, Hack begins the show by carrying on storage crates filled with personal memorabilia, with the strains of George Gershwin's "Lady Be Good" emanating from a vintage show album. It soon becomes clear this will be more of a family biography than the typical career retrospective. The highlights of Hack's career, such as Broadway appearances in Cats and A Chorus Line, are told primarily in relation to his locksmith father, who tried to push Hack toward a career in baseball. Expect no dark revelations of domestic abuse or drug addiction. Hack describes a near-idyllic portrait of a supporting and loving Midwestern family. Though his father initially opposed his drive to be a performer, there are no tales of communication breakdowns or heated exchanges. Compassion and tolerance seem to have been second nature in the Hack household. He skips over details of his romantic life. The focus remains narrow, sprinkled with a few brief song-and-dance interludes, ending with his father's death in 1984. The emotional memories he conjures up at the climax are believable and quite touching. Though his piece is unabashedly sentimental, it thankfully sidesteps a cloying aftertaste. Dana McElwain provides superb piano accompanimen

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