By Beki Pineda
ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE – Written by Ted Swindley; Directed by Michael J. Duran and Alicia K. Meyers. Produced by BDT Stage (5501 Arapahoe) through May 20, 2018. Tickets available at 303-449-6000 or bdtstage.com.
If Patsy Cline had avoided the plane crash that took her life at 30 in 1963, she would have been 85 today. She would be wishing she had a voice as strong and true as Norrell Moore who sings the role in this stellar production. And Patsy would be happy that her signature songs – “Crazy”, “I Fall to Pieces”, “She’s Got You”, and others – were being given such a loving treatment in this homage to friendship. ALWAYS, PATSY CLINE tells the story of how Patsy and superfan Louise Seger met and sustained a long distance friendship for over two years. The show is really more like a two hour concert wrapped around a sweet and heartfelt story about two women who connected through common problems. Both Patsy and Louise had two children; both had been divorced and remarried to husbands who gave them no rest; both loved music; both had been born to poverty but were strong women determined to find their place in the world.
Norrell’s performance not only honors Patsy’s musicality, but gives her a believable public and private personality. Patsy was a world famous country singer who gave life to songs from such divergent songwriters from Neil Sedaka and Cole Porter to Willy Nelson and Hank Williams. This script allows us glimpses of her backstage life as well. While her relationship with Louise – played with humor and energy by Alicia Meyers – started as singer and fan, it evolved into something important to both of them.
Ali provides the comic relief and story line for the evening with her infectious enthusiasm and comic take on life in general. She pitches in on a few songs just to remind us that Ali herself is a heck of a singer. Her grief at the loss of a friend is genuine and heartbreaking.
The menu for this performance leans toward comfort food with a meat loaf special that is indeed special. A busy Wednesday night performance indicates that this is a popular show with both young and old. Even if you saw the long running performance at the Galleria Theatre in Denver, it’s fun to revisit this homage to an American icon.
A WOW factor of 8!