Always…Patsy Cline

By Ted Swindleytheo ubique

Directed by Fred Anzevino

Musical Direction by Aaron Benham
At Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Chicago

Toe-tapping and heartwarming entertainment awaits at No Exit

The intimate cabaret space at No Exit Cafe allows shows to be interactive with the audiences. This works extremely well with the two-hander Always…Patsy Cline.Rather than simply being a Patsy Cline revue, Ted Swindley framed the Cline songbook with a heartwarming story about how the country & western singer met a female fan in Houston at a Texas honky-tonk. Cline was more than one of the first female country stars, she was an inspiration to the future females to grace The Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville.  From 1957 to 1963, Patsy recorded many hit tunes ranging from honky-tonk to haunting ballads and deeply emotional bluesy songs.  Her rich tone, emotionally expressive, and bold contralto voice produced memorable songs such as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Crazy”-one of the most played recordings of all-time. She is considered to be one of the most influential, successful, and acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century.

215px Patsy Cline II Always...Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline

Christina Hall sounds like Patsy Cline. She has her style and vocal intonations down pat, almost channeling the star 51 years after her death at age 30 in 1963. The test of how well one plays Patsy is how they render Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” Hall gave the famous torch-song a melancholy rendition true to the original.

theo ubique

Always…Patsy Cline has a true story basis in an incident that found super-fan Louise Seger (Danni Smith) introducing herself to Patsy in 1961 at a Houston honky-tonk. The two women instantly became friends and confidants.  Patsy ended up staying the night at  Louise’s house after eating homemade bacon and eggs. The two keep corresponding by letter (hence signature: “Always…Patsy Cline”) until Cline’s death in a plane crash in 1963.

danni smith

The show featured a five piece country band led by Aaron Benham, playing the Cline songbook including 27 of her songs! This show is an early country music delight that found many of the audience humming or singing along with Hall.  That was both a tribute to Patsy Cline’s popularity after 50 years and an irritant since this isn’t karaoke night.  Danni Smith’s honest, down-home style narration and her comic chops added a human touch to the Cline song fest. So go to see Always…Patsy Cline to hear the memorable songs and you’ll discover a heartfelt story that will lift your spirits.  Patsy was country before country was cool and she led they way for all the great female country singers to come.

theo ubique

Always…Patsy Cline demonstrates the popularity and wholesomeness of country music. It is a nice alternate to all the sappy holiday shows. You’ll have a great time!

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: November 20, 2014

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the Always…Patsy Cline page at theatreinchicago.com

At No Exit Cafe,  6970 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL, call 800-595-4849, www.theo-u.org, tickets $29 – $34, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through Feb 1, 2015