“Always Patsy Cline”, which opened at The Fulton Theatre on April 20, is a toe tapping and joyful tribute to the country music legend: Patsy Cline (Christine Mild). In this musical, Patsy’s story is told from the perspective of a Houston housewife named Louise Seger (Charis Leos). Throughout the show, Louise recounts to the audience her memories with Patsy Cline.
The book by Ted Swindley is simple, as it’s essentially Louis’s account of her friendship with Patsy. The simplicity of the book allows the friendship between Louise and Patsy to always be at the center of the story. The music is great fun, but the inspirational friendship between Patsy and Louise is ultimately what sets this show apart from other jukebox musicals.
Christine Mild as Patsy Cline impresses the audience with her incredible vocals and authenticity. Throughout the performance, many audience members commented that Mild sounded just like the real Patsy Cline. That is in large part due to Mild’s sensitive portrayal of the country icon. Mild evokes Patsy Cline’s voice and presence performance, but also displays excellent chemistry with Leos’ Louise.
Charis Leos, who portrayed the role of Patsy’s friend and biggest fan Louise Seger, performed a difficult role with aplomb. This is Leos’ fourth time playing the role of Louise, and her experience with the role shows. She managed to have the audience laughing throughout the evening, while never sacrificing the heart of the story. Although the character of Louise does not have nearly as much singing as Patsy Cline, Louise is saddled with much of the show’s storytelling. The audience may come to the show to hear Mild’s Patsy Cline, but Charis Leos as Louise by the end of the show is just as much of a star.
The seamless direction by Marc Robin and Curt Dale Clark keeps the show moving at a fast pace. William James Mohney’s set design illustrates the country atmosphere well, and Matthew Demascolo’s bright lighting brings a concert atmosphere to Patsy’s numbers while also highlighting Brittany Leffler’s breathtaking costumes.
The spectacular band plays Patsy Cline’s music with flair and incredible energy. Part of the enjoyment of the show is watching Leos hysterical interactions with the band. The Fulton’s production of “Always Patsy Cline” is not trying to be anything deep or life changing; it is just trying to give its audiences a good time. This production certainly delivers on that promise. This roof-raising musical is one not to be missed.