“ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE” Through February 28th.

Published: Monday, February 8, 2016 By: GARY CHATTMAN, PUBLISHER/CRITIC Source: Westchester Arts & Education Review

         I discovered three things last night at the Westchester Broadway Theatre’s 194th production of “Always…Patsy Cline.”

The first was that on this stage you can see a spectacle musical theatre experience like “Showboat” and it is excellent. The second thing I discovered was that a small production, such as “Patsy Cline” can also be exceptional. And the third thing I discovered was that, in the northeast, no such theatre of quality exists. Don ‘t take my word for it—get your cowboy hats, your spats, your bandanas—and get on your horse to Elmsford to the WBT!

         Take this show. Two-member cast. This is a story of a country singer who unfortunately died in a plane crash at the age of thirty. Perfect for sophisticated Westchester audiences, no?

But Stutler and Funking (the proprietors of this honky tonk joint) picked the perfect play to shine away those winter blues.

         Ted Swindley based his play—which he also directed in Nashville—on a little-known incident in the life of Patsy Cline.   She stopped in a Houston honky tonk and became friendly with a housewife named Louise Seger. There was a pen-pan relationship after that fateful meeting, and it continued until the singer’s untimely death. So he wrote a musical revue based on this…and it encompasses most of the singer’s song hits—even those that moved into the mainstream of American music, like “Crazy,” and “I Fall to Pieces.” And thus is born this Westchester Broadway Theatre’s ode to country music—and to the spirit of us all. Stomp your feet to the beat of over 27 songs! We even can marvel at the trails blazed by Ms. Cline to put a woman’s stamp of equality in the music field.

         You can’t help but be in awe with the uncanny joie de vivre of star Erin McCracken and her embodiment of the style of Patsy Cline in her every sung note, every gesture, and each and every character innuendo. It comes with such ease! And you can’t help but kvell at the spirit and talent of Susann Fletcher who portrays Louise Seger. The beauty of this show is that Cline’s story is told mostly by Seger, who struts across the stage in her vehicle and owns the audience with her humorous asides and sly wisdom.   The beauty of this intimate show is mirrored in the talents of these two illustrious stars.

         The Bodacious Bobcat Band, led by Ken Lundie, swings and moves to that fine country beat—a beat no doubt shared by most country folks here in Westchester! You can’t help but gettin’ the rhythm and clappin’ away!

         This show was directed by Amiee Turner—a talent herself! That country set, designed by Steve Loftus, takes us back to those days when we all sat around the jukebox, listening to the sounds of Nashville.

         So, thanks to those country folks Stutler and Funking for allowing we Westchesterites to party with the Nashville sound and make, as I said, those dark winter evenings bright with the sound of “Always…Patsy Cline.”