BWW Review: ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE Shines at The Merry – Go – Round Playhouse

BWW Review: ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE Shines at The Merry – Go – Round Playhouse
Jacqueline Petroccia in the Finger Lake Musical Theatre's production of Always...Patsy Cline. Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr..

The Merry - Go - Round Playhouse in Auburn, New York ends their 2017 season with Always...Patsy Cline the musical based on a true story of the legendary Patsy Cline. The show shines light on the talented singer Patsy Cline and the memorable music she brought to the country music industry during her very short life. Director Douglas S. Hall brings the toe-tappin' and comedic musical to life with the two stellar female cast members.

The musical centers on the narrator, Louise Seger (Sally Mayes). She is a very devoted fan of Patsy Cline (Jacqueline Petroccia) who just so happens to call into her local Texas radio station almost every day requesting Patsy Cline tunes. Louise then learns one day that Patsy Cline will be performing in her town and she, her boyfriend, and boss all pile into her car to attend the concert. The band technically doesn't start performing until 8:00 PM, but to make sure she does not miss her chance of seeing Patsy Cline perform, Louise make sure to arrive at 6:30 PM to get the best seat. Louise does, in fact, get the best seat since nobody else has arrived yet. While waiting for the show to begin, Louise sees a woman enter the room. That woman is none other than Patsy Cline and Louise boldly goes over to her to introduce herself. That introduction leads to a lasting friendship and she exchanges many letters with Patsy Cline for years to come.

The musical features many of the iconic singer's well-known hits, including "Crazy," "Stupid Cupid," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "I Fall to Pieces," and many more, played by a live onstage orchestra (dressed in cowboy hats, of course), under the masterful direction of Jeff Cox. The memorable, lively, and entertaining music is interlaced in the story as Louise is often listening to the songs on radio, or watching a television performance by Patsy Cline, or - of course - attending the Honky Tonk concert in Texas where she begins her friendship with her idol.

The production features strong technical elements too. Shoko Kambara's set easily transforms from the Grand Ole Opry stage, the Honky Tonk concert in Texas, and even Louise's kitchen where she first falls in love with Patsy Cline's country voice. The lighting by Jose Santiago, sound design by Joel Abbott, and costume design by Tiffany Howard all capture the talent, beauty, and spunk of Patsy Cline.

BWW Review: ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE Shines at The Merry – Go – Round Playhouse
L-R Jacqueline Petroccia and Sally Mayes in the Finger Lake Musical Theatre's production of Always...Patsy Cline. Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr..

The production also benefits from an extremely talented cast.

Jacqueline Petroccia plays Patsy Cline. This is her tenth production of Always...Patsy Cline so there is no doubt that she is very familiar with the character. Petroccia easily and naturally transforms into Patsy Cline. She plays the role with such perfection and respect; it is captivating. Petroccia vocals skills are top notch and fans of the singer will be pleased to know that she also has all of the emotion and passion of Patsy Cline herself. She makes you feel like you are attending an actual performance of Patsy Cline as she sings "Walkin' After Midnight," "Back in Baby's Arms," just to name a few. Her performance of "Crazy" is highly memorable and a real audience favorite. She charms the audience just like Patsy Cline.

Sally Mayes, as Louise Segar, is a pure joy to watch as she confidently and perfectly struts about the stage. Her comedic skills, spunk, and charm steal the spotlight. Her banter is effortless and her reactions to the Patsy Cline performances are hysterical; you won't want to take your eyes off of her. As the song "Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray" is sung, Sally Mayes nails every comedic line perfectly, which left the opening night audience in hysterical laughter. Mayes is one of those actresses that easily can bring a character to life thanks to her genius acting skills and to see her perform is a real treat.

The Merry - Go - Round Playhouse ends the season on a high note with this shining and memorable production of Always...Patsy Cline. The production will make you fall in love with the singer Patsy Cline all over again, as well as the stellar performers. Even if you aren't familiar with Patsy Cline, the show is a must-see if you like talented comedic actors, a devoted group of musicians, and beautiful music. Don't miss your chance to see the final production of the 2017 season of The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival!

Running Time: Approximately one hour and forty minutes with one fifteen-minute intermission.

Always...Patsy Cline runs through October 11, 2017 at the Merry - Go - Round Playhouse as part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. For tickets and information on this production and next season click here.

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From This Author Natasha Ashley