“D’Amico…a pleasure to watch…” —ReviewPlays.com
The Sierra Madre Playhouse has an absolute winner in ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE.
The playhouse is converted to The Grand Ole Opry, then a popular honky tonk bar, as well as a radio station and a kitchen, as the terrifically talented Cori Cable Kidder, as lovely a Patsy Cline as could be, delivers twenty seven Cline hits, backed by a solid five-piece band. But this is not just a Cline concert; there’s a story to tell via another character, one Louise Seger, played by the energetic jumping jack Nikki Da’Amico, that gives the piece a rounded out and homey feeling.
Louise Seger met Patsy Cline one night in a bar that Cline was to perform in. Seger, a divorcee, had come to see Cline perform and got there early with her b.f. and boss in tow, and boldly introed herself to Cline. They became fast friends over a two plus year period until Cline’s untimely death in a plane crash.
When we first meet Louise, she tells of how she “met” Patsy Cline on TV, watching the Arthur Godfrey morning show. Ms. D’Amico is very physical as she sashays around her little kitchen, which is set downstage right. She’s a pleasure to watch as she unwinds the story of her connection with Patsy over the course of the show.
Ms. Kidder is spot on key as she starts off the show with HONKY TONK MERRY-GO-ROUND and BACK IN BABY’S ARMS. She effortlessly moves through numbers like I FALL TO PIECES, YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART, STUPID CUPID, and SAN ANTONIO ROSE in the first Act, while Ms. D’Amico interweaves her story.
The second Act continues with more taking place in the bar (SWEET DREAMS and SHE’S GOT YOU), then moves to Louise’s kitchen, as Louise has invited Patsy to stay the night. A great rendition of Willie Nelson’s CRAZY is later followed by a swell Patsy-Louise duet with Bill Monroe’s BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY. At the radio station (Louise has set Patsy up with an interview with her old friend, DJ Hal Harris), Patsy sings GOTTA LOTTA RHYTHM and SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL.
All in all we’ve got one heck of a pleasant evening! Director Robert Marra has shaped a well tuned production and Ted Swindley’s script never gets maudlin as he keeps the attention where it belongs: on the music! Other tech credits, including John Vertrees’ set design, are super!
ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE plays now at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024. The show plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 2:30PM. There’s an extra Saturday 2:30PM matinee on September 12, 2015.
Reviewed By Robert Axelrod