Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Always ... Patsy Cline
The Lake Worth Playhouse presents Ted Swindley's musical play Always ... Patsy Cline, a tribute to country music legend Patsy Cline through the eyes and ears of her most devoted fan, Louise.
Singer Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932. She was best known for her rich vocal sound and plaintive emotional interpretations. Her voice allowed her to cross over successfully from country to pop music during the early 1960s era of The Nashville Sound. Cline was known as a trailblazer in the country music industry, forging the way for the many women who followed in her footsteps. She died at the height of her career in a 1963 plane crash at the age of 30.
Millions of Patsy Cline albums have been sold over the past 45 years, and she has received numerous awards posthumously. In 1973 she became the first female solo artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1999 she was voted #11 on the list of "The 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll of All Time" by VH1. In 2002, she was voted by the artists and members of CMT (Country Music Television) as #1 on the list of "The 40 Greatest Women of Country Music." She is considered one of the most acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century, and the story of her life has been the subject of numerous books, movies, documentaries, articles and stage plays, including Swindley's Always ... Patsy Cline.
Always ... Patsy Cline is based on the true story of Patsy Cline's friendship with a Houston housewife named Louise Seger. The story is told through the eyes of Louise who became an instant fan when she first heard Patsy sing on the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1957. The two women eventually meet at a Houston honky tonk where Patsy is on tour, and they form a close friendship ended only by Patsy's untimely death. The story is based on the many letters and cards exchanged by Louise and Patsy over the years.
The setting for the story ranges from The Grand Ole Opry, The Arthur Godfrey Show, The Esquire Ballroom and a Houston radio station to Louise's own kitchen table. This is more than a mere musical retrospective, as it looks at the ways in which we touch one another's hearts, and forge the bonds of friendships regardless of our life's journey.
Key to the success of any production of Always ... Patsy Cline is someone who can actually sing like Patsy Cline through the more than 20 songs in the show. It is no easy task to duplicate her iconic sound and style, but even the staunchest of purists would be at peace with the performance of Lisa Mills as Patsy. Admittedly, the first three numbers of the show are just O.K., but from the time Lisa Mills sings the first note of her fourth song, "Walkin' After Midnight," she is on the money for the rest of the show. She clearly has a lovely instrument which she has shaped to match the sound of Patsy Cline to near perfection. Her flawless delivery of songs such as "I Fall To Pieces," "Sweet Dreams," "She's Got You," "Three Cigarettes," "Crazy" and "If You've Got Leavin' On Your Mind" leave one with closed eyes unable to distinguish between her and Cline. At times she paces with her staging, but she possesses the "good ol' gal" energy and presence of Patsy Cline as well.
C.C. Currie is a hoot as Louise, with her bigger than life personality and hair to match. She supplies the needed comedic handling of the part that propels the story forward, and prevents it from becoming just a collection of Patsy Cline songs. What a thoroughly enjoyable show!
Always ... Patsy Cline will appear through May 3rd, 2009 at the Lake Worth Playhouse. The theatre is located at 713 Lake Ave. in Lake Worth, Florida. The Lake Worth Playhouse is a Resident Community Playhouse. Performance times are Thursdays, Fridays at 8:00 PM Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 PM, and Sundays at 2:00 and 7:00 PM. For tickets and/or more information about the theatre and its programs, you may contact them by phone at 561-586-6410 or online at www.lakeworthplayhouse.org.
Musicians: "The Bodacious Bobcats Band"