by Nancy Holley
Great News! Always…Patsy Cline is back on September 15, 2012! If you are one of the many who saw the show and did not want it to end, wished to attend but found the house sold out, or wanted to see the show again with friends, this is your opportunity!
The audiences for Always…Patsy Cline were so enthusiastic, wanting the show held over for extra performances, that the Visalia Community Players decided a reprise was warranted. Since the 2012-2013 season was already planned and the Ice House booked with those shows, another venue was needed. The Fox Theatre was chosen to allow seating for those unable to attend during the regular season and repeaters.
The reprise includes the same actors and musicians as the original performances at the Ice House in January-February, 2012. Considering busy schedules, keeping everyone together, and finding a date for the reprise were daunting tasks for director Leeni Mitchell. Several dates were considered including the 80th anniversary of Patsy’s birth early in September, but the final date of September 15, 2012, was the one meeting all schedules including that of the Fox Theatre.
The Fox Theatre, a much larger venue than the Ice House, presented challenges as well as opportunities. The challenges included creating a set to fit the larger stage, retaining the show’s intimacy, arranging rehearsals to minimize cost, and working within the Fox Theatre requirements. The original opportunity to reprise a production greatly enjoyed by the community grew to include the additional opportunity to raise funds for upgraded facilities and equipment at the Ice House Theatre. Audience members on September 15 will have the pleasure of being entertained as well as supporting the Visalia Players, a volunteer non-profit organization.
As in the Ice House performances, Silvia Tajerian Garoian portraying Patsy Cline will thrill you with her vocal acumen, bringing to life Patsy’s heritage. Although Patsy Cline was only 30 years old when her skyrocketing career ended in a tragic plane crash in 1963, her songs still resonate with country music lovers. Most enthusiasts can hum “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “I Fall to Pieces” a half century later. The six short years of her career encompassed unheard of accomplishments for a woman country singer including performing at Carnegie Hall and headlining her own show in Las Vegas.
Always … Patsy Cline is one of two plays about Patsy’s life approved for production by the Patsy Cline Estate. The story relates the meeting between Patsy and Louise Seger, one of Patsy’s most ardent fans. Their chance encounter of slightly less than 24 hours led to a friendship via letters and phone calls that lasted until Patsy’s death.
In the original production, Susan Mathews as Louise Seger charmed viewers with her enthusiasm and excitement of meeting Patsy and becoming her friend. She promises to do so again in the reprise.
The musicians supporting Garoian and Mathews are directed by the talented B. J. Barlow. Those of you tapping your feet during the Ice House productions and who went away still swaying to the familiar favorites were sent to those heights by voices, but also by an extraordinary band. Megan Barlow, Gary Benjamin, Churchill Cooke, Lon Hannah, Cindy Jungwirth, and Dennis Mack have been extremely loyal in the months since the Ice House production, coming together for rehearsals to ensure an excellent performance.
The Always … Patsy Cline reprise fundraiser will be at the Fox Theatre, September 15, 2012. Reservations should be made through the Fox Theatre by calling 635-1369 or visiting the website. Regular seating is $25. VIP seats, which include premier seating and pre- and post-show parties, are $50. The food for the pre- and post-show parties is being donated by Tazzaria, and the wine is being supplied by Holiday Inn. The Visalia Players are grateful to these organizations for their support.
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