ALWAYS PATSY CLINE DELIVERS AT Westchester Broadway TheatrePublished: Thursday, February 18, 2016 By: Marlene S. Gaylinn Source: “On CT and NY Theatre”
If you’re not familiar with this country singer, you will certainly recognize some of the popular songs that are contained in her album, “Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits” which has sold over ten million copies. Of these songs, “Sweet Dreams” by Don Gibson, “Crazy” by Willy Nelson, and “Your Cheatin’ Heart” by Hank William Sr. are among the ones that are still familiar today.
The songstress was born in 1932 and as a teenager, she began singing at local, Virginia clubs and on the radio. Her career was sparked by an appearance on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts TV show and during a very short time she became the first female singer to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Patsy Cline became one of the most popular female vocalists of the 20th century and now we have a chance to see why at (WBT).
The idea for the show began when Ted Swindley, Artistic Director of Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, Texas came across an interview with a housewife who was a fan of Patsy Cline and frequently corresponded with her. The down to earth singer, who had a string of down-to-earth followers, ended her warm letters with, “Always, Patsy Cline” -- hence the title and format of this production. The show played Off-Broadway in 1997, and has since traveled the U.S., England, Ireland and Australia.
At WBT, Amiee Turner directs a sparkling-voiced, Erin McCracken in her role as Patsy Cline, and Susann Fletcher as her adoring, very comical fan, Louise Seger. The smooth format makes you feel as if you are also one of Patsy’s fans -- just sitting around in your average, southern, country kitchen and having a friendly hoop-de-doo over a cup of coffee – which happens to be pretty special when an adored star is at your table.
The popular male and female vocalists of this period were also called, “Song Stylists” - and for good reason. The singers were artists that touched our emotions. Like many country music stars she never learned to read music, however, you will enjoy McCracken’s sensitive and up-beat interpretations of the popular songs Patsy Cline sang during ‘50s. As a bonus, you will have the opportunity to see the flattering, full-skirted dresses worn during that period.
While McCracken is your average, chunky gal with a warm, laid back personality, Fletcher can be compared to a dancing string bean in red, pedal pushers. She is ready to jump into anything on a moment’s notice, and her body language, particularly the motorized rendition of her rather unsynchronized, old jalopy (the imaginary car has a personality of its own) is hilarious.
The hoppingly delicious, country music is provided by the equally down to earth cowboys in the “Bodacious Bobcat Band” under the direction of smiling, Ken Lundie.
This is lighthearted, family entertainment and the audience is often invited to participate. The dinner theatre’s varied menu includes a couple of country-style dishes to get you in the program’s mood however, if you like boneless, prime ribs of beef, we suggest that you stick to it. Convenient, self-parking is free.