The Chestnut Fine Arts Center opened Always, Patsy Cline, Jan.16 to an overly enthusiastic crowd there to hear the mucic of legendary country singer, Patsy Cline whose career ended far too soon with her untimely death at 30 years old.
Brad Zimmerman, executive producer and director of the Chestnut, assembled a super tandem of Valerie Fagan and Stasha Case to perform the musical tribute to Patsy Cline. The show, created by Ted Swindley and licensed by the family and estate of Patsy Cline, covers a Houston fan’s initial sighting of Cline via the old TV show, Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts from the early 1950s. From the initial viewing of the singer, Louise Seger (Stasha Case) tells the story of her meeting with Cline and the relationship that subsequently developed.
Valerie Fagan as Patsy Cline could not be better cast. Fagan stepped onstage, walked to a microphone, introduced her character and burst into Cline’s repertoire of well-loved songs. Fagan performed each song in the style of Patsy Cline, but never tried to imitate her sound. Fagan’s voice matched perfectly with Cline’s range and the songs did not vary from what audiences expect when hearing a Patsy Cline tribute. As for the characterization, she was Patsy Cline from the moment she stepped on the stage through the end. What a bravura performance!
Not to be outdone, Stasha Case used her dynamic stage presence, acting ability, and body language to create an admirable compliment to the Patsy Cline character. Case’s comedic timing, facial gestures, dialogue delivery, and southern drawl just added moment by moment to the show. Keep an eye on Case, she just dances and bops her way through so many of the Patsy Cline ditties. At intermission, several guest commented on how much they were enjoying “Louise” and did not expect anything other than Patsy Cline music. Watch for Case. She’s destined to get lots of parts in lots of shows as more directors see her work.
Zimmerman constructed a great four-piece band to provide the needed background for Always, Patsy Cline. Of course, Zimmerman on piano always drawn wonderment. But he added percussion and bass in the form of Garett Heinz and Danny Kaul, both regular musicians at the Chestnut. But for Always, Patsy Cline, he needed a steel guitar as well. This came in the form of Russ Wever who fit right in with the other band members to create a beautiful backup for the Patsy Cline vocals.
Always, Patsy Cline opened Jan. 16 and runs through March 2. Because of the title of the show, Always, Patsy Cline, her fans will flock to see the show. Because of it’s strong season ticket supporters and many occasional guests, many shows could sell out. Be sure to plan and call ahead for tickets. As word of mouth spreads, ticket sales will be brisk.
Do not miss this show. Always, Patsy Cline comes with the highest recommendations. It’s bound to entertain all audiences from kindergarden through senior citizen. The show contains Patsy Cline’s hits along with some well known hymns.
Some of the songs included in the show are: “ Anytime,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Stupid Cupid,” “You Belong to Me,” “Lovesick Blues,” “Sweet Dreams,” “She’s Got You,” “Crazy,” “Just a Closer Walk,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “How Great Thou Art,” “ Faded Love,” “True Love,” “Bill Bailey,” and even more. No one comes away feeling their money was not well spent.
Run to your computer and go to their website and book tickets now for Always, Patsy Cline at the Chestnut Fine Arts Center. Visit their website: chestnutfinearts.com. Or, call the box office at 913.764.2121.
Do not miss this show.