“Always…Patsy Cline” returns to Whitefish Theatre Co.’s stage for a summer encore performance. This intimate cabaret-style musical tells the story of Patsy Cline, a gutsy, iconoclastic country music singer. Performances are at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish on July 29-31, Aug. 1, and Aug. 5-8 at 8:00 p.m., with a sneak preview performance on July 28.
Cline, known for her warmth, wildness, and vast emotional reservoir of a voice, is a timeless treasure with enduring country songs like “Crazy,” “Walking After Midnight,” “Your Cheating Heart,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Back in Baby’s Arms.” This musical, based on a true story, recounts Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston, Louise Seger. Cline befriended Seger at a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and the two remained pen pals until Cline’s untimely death at the age of 30 in a 1963 plane crash.
The show’s title comes from the closing phrase in all of Patsy’s letters to Louise: “Love always, Patsy Cline.” Complete with humor and true emotion, the show highlights the tender friendship and rare camaraderie between Cline and Seger.
Amanda Duff Caldwell, starring as Cline, has the vocal chords to revive the country legend with style. As the Charleston City Paper says, “Vintage dresses and bouffant hair do not a Patsy make. You don’t have a show unless you have the voice.” The cabaret’s audience are apt to feel like they have stepped back 50 years and are sitting at a Patsy Cline concert.
The musical packs 23 sultry songs into two hours, a testament to Caldwell’s voice. Merge this with the fast-talking, boisterous, and ballsy narrative of Louise Seger, played by Scarlett Schindler, and direction from veteran director Nancy Nei, and the result is a performance to remember.
“We are fortunate that nearly 100 percent of the Patsy ‘tribe’ is returning,” says Nei. The band, The Bodacious Bobcats, includes director Karla West, Dave Griffith, Connie Rudie, John Goodrich, and Mike Wright, along with backup singers Rava Graves, Joey Retz, Sandy Matheny, and Lisa Calloway. The show is brought to life with authentic vintage costumes by Lonnie Porro, technical direction by Colin Arakaki, and stage managing by Kellie Hoffman.
Tickets are $25 for a reserved table or mezzanine seating, and food and wine are available for purchase. Tickets for the sneak preview performance on July 28 are $15, sold only at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office (1 Central Ave. in Whitefish), by calling 862-5371, or online at www.whitefishtheatreco.org.