An acoustic guitar has six strings, which, fittingly, can be interpreted to represent each of the six characters in writer and performer Chase Padgett's original one-man show, 6 Guitars. Produced by by Lott Entertainment, the show moves into the Alley's Neuhaus Theatre this Friday and Saturday. 12-13 at the Alley Theatre.
According to Padgett, the performance combines music, characters and comedy. "As the show progresses, the characters share songs and their stories...what inspires them to play music [and] how music made them a better person," he says. "It combines in the end to show how music is a binding agent for all of the community."
The personas all come from a true inspiration in Padgett's life. Blues, jazz, rock, classical, folk and country dominate the 85-minute show, with characters ranging from a 19-year-old rock prodigy to an 87-year-old bluesman.
"They’re all characters I’ve seen live or studied with," explains Padgett. "The classical and jazz guitar players are my professors from college. The blues guy I’ve never met, but I’ve seen him live. All he did was stand in front of the audience with a drink in one hand and microphone in the other and charm the audience."
Other characters include a folk character who would cry during his live shows, Padgett's teenage self, and a blend of his father and country crooner Chris Stapleton. The inspiration behind the show started with a small beginning that blossomed into a full-time job for Padgett, he recalls.
Speaking about how he developed the show, he says, "It just came from wanting to do something scary and hard, and at the time, I couldn’t think of anything more intimidating than entertaining an audience for an hour."
It turns out that leap of faith worked out in Padgett's favor.
Co-written and directed by Jay Hopkins, 6 Guitars has won numerous fringe awards. It has received copious accolades from festivals stretching from Orlando to Canada to England.
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Critics too are singing its praises. The Austin Post calls it "a stunning performance." The Edmonton Sun says, "6 Guitars is nothing short of a storytelling masterpiece. It will leave you doing laughing until you cry, and lifting your jaw to its proper position."
Since the show's inception in 2010, Padgett has refined the characters and their stories into a well-greased machine. Even though this will be his first time performing it in Houston, he's already done it more than 300 times before.
"It’s well-honed. It’s well-rehearsed," he says. "It’s unique and different than what people have seen before. It’s a really good time, and people walk away extremely thankful they came."
6 Guitars plays at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Theatre, 615 Texas. Tickets are $27-$37; call 713-220-5700 or visit alleytheatre.org.