One of the measures of any show is how well it succeeds within the framework of what it is. On that basis, “Always…Patsy Cline” is perfect and a delightful beginning to Stages 2013 season.
Based on some real occurrences, this two character musical is done in two acts at Stages. Veteran actress Zoe Vonder Haar, a real jewel of the St. Louis acting community, appears as Louise Seger, a divorced housewife in Houston who becomes an avid fan of Patsy Cline and her music. Seger gets an impromptu opportunity to meet Cline during an appearance in Houston, and the two strike up a friendship that lasts until Cline’s untimely death in a light plane crash on March 5, 1963, around Camden, Tennessee.
Zoe Vonder Haar as Seger is a wealth of comedic energy, totally devoted to Cline’s music. Her portrayal elevates the evening. In a way, the production is as much about her character’s life as it is Cline’s. Indeed, the two characters have a lot in common when it comes to husbands and families, and their love of music.
Forget any tribute performers you may have seen before who “recreated” Patsy Cline. Jacqueline Petroccia as Cline is about as close to the real thing as you will ever hear. She is fantastic and the audience really welcomes her authenticity. Several times, one of her numbers is almost a show-stopper.
“Always…Patsy Cline” is a touching showcase for Cline’s music and a revealing personal glimpse into her life and career as it was just starting to blossom. There are 27 songs performed, and your favorite Patsy Cline recording will not be excluded. A six piece band is on stage and is an ideal compliment to the show.
The legacy of Patsy Cline’s career is given a memorable, touching treatment in “Always…Patsy Cline.” Cline’s bold, rich voice had an unforgettable emotional quality to it. Jacqueline Petroccia’s portrayal of Cline is spot on musically and reminds you of just how special a performer Cline really was. Many years after her death, Patsy Cline’s talent and uniqueness remain timeless. Along with Zoe Vonder Harr, who is the narrative and comic soul of this production, these two gifted performers give us back a moment in time that no plane crash can really erase.