Always…Patsy Cline – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

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 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 20 th century and now we have a chance to see why at Norwalk’s Music Theatre of CT (MTC).

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 of this production. The idea for the show began when Ted Swindley, Artistic Director of Stages Repertory Theatre, located in Houston, Texas came across a fan of Patsy Cline and frequently corresponded with her. The show played Off-Broadway in 1997.

At MTC, Pamela Hill directs a vibrant, sparkling-voiced, Mia Scarpa in her role as Patsy Cline – Scarpa even resembles her. Becky Barta is her adoring, comical fan, Louise Seger. The actors make the audience feel as if they are also Patsy’s fans – just sitting around and having a friendly “hoop-te-doo.” However, when the stars come over and ask you to dance, sing, and clap along with them, this show becomes a mighty special hoedown.

The popular male and female vocalists of this period were called, “Song Stylists” and for good reason. The singers were artists that touched our emotions. Like many country music stars and musicians, Patsy never learned to read music.

You will enjoy Scarpa’s touching 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 and designed here by Diane Vanderkroef.

Swinging, toe-tapping country music provided by “cowboys” who also sing, act, and mingle with the audience is under the direction of Thomas Conroy.

This is lighthearted, family entertainment and the audience is invited to participate.

Plays through February 24