“D’Amico holds the audience rapt…”— Stage Raw
At the ripe age of 30, country singer Patsy Cline perished in a plane crash. She was a sensation at the level of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, gaining recognition on The Arthur Godfrey Show and catapulting to fame with the country-pop hit “I Fall to Pieces” and becoming a cast member of the Grand Ole Opry show.
Sierra Madre Playhouse has created an energetic and beautifully performed homage to the songstress with Always…Patsy Cline. Director Robert Marra has taken Ted Swindley’s thin script and created an activated evening of storytelling.
Louise is a spirited Texan, swept away by Patsy Cline after watching her one morning on the Godfrey show. She speaks directly to the audience from her kitchen perch, set designed by Orlando de la Paz. The musical is her story- of going to a local bar to witness Cline perform, to meeting her idol, to inviting her back to her home for bacon, eggs and girl talk. There is no dramatic tension, but the highly animated Nikki D’Amico’s Louise is winning in her larger-than-life enthusiasm and holds the audience rapt as she takes us through her journey.
Director Marra’s other great contribution is casting the velvet voiced Cori Cable Kidder as Patsy Cline.
There is not much within the text describing Ms. Cline’s personal attributes, and Kidder’s demeanor remains good naturedly impassive, however her vocal prowess is effortless and captivating. Her rich tone, country twang, and soulful growls will most certainly please die-hard Cline fans.
The live band, directed and lead by Sean Paxton, is also lively, bringing skill and vibrancy to the event. If you’d like to hear breathtaking renditions of such classics as “Walkin’ After Midnight”, “Crazy” and “You Belong to Me,” audience participation is encouraged.
The Sierra Madre Playhouse; 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through September 27. (626) 355-4318, www.sierramadreplayhouse.org Running time 1 hour, 40 minutes.