BWW Interview: Alison Arngrim of ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE at Sharon Playhouse
On Thursday, August 16, I had the pleasure of interviewing the actress Alison Arngrim, over the telephone. This actress who is most well known for her childhood role of Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie is scheduled to star on stage at the Sharon Playhouse, in Sharon, CT, as Louise Seger, in the Ted Swindley musical entitled Always...Patsy Cline, which is scheduled to run from August 17, 2018 through September 2, 2018.
Alison Arngrim first heard about the Sharon Playhouse's interest in casting her in this production when she received a phone call from her agent. She recently enjoyed her role in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, acting for Morgan Sills at North Carolina's Judson Playhouse, and was excited when this opportunity in Connecticut came along. Alison Arngrim will be performing alongside the talented Carter Calvert who has a lot of experience portraying Patsy Cline in this show, including with Sally Struthers in the Louise Seger role that Alison Arngrim will now portray.
This musical depicts the true story regarding Louise Seger who started as merely a fan of Patsy Cline, but soon became her friend, with whom she exchanged many letters. Alison Arngrim likes the way that this musical makes a statement on fame, through a "marvelous story." It shows how Patsy Cline gives hope to the passionate and eccentric Louise Seger, as they bonded over issues impacting women, at the time, including Patsy Cline's insistence on receiving equal pay with the male artists who she toured with. Patsy Cline was respected both as a country artist, and a pioneer of cross-over success on both country and mainstream pop charts.
Alison Arngrim likes the way that in a live stage performance, she gets an instant response from the audience, knowing right away what reactions her performance immediately provokes. She is very experienced as a stage performer, having done stand-up since she was a teenager, multiple other stage performances, and is currently touring in her own one-woman show. IN Always...Patsy Cline, she will be singing along with Carter Calvert on some numbers, and encouraging audience participation in this show that has no fourth wall. Alison and Carter will also be accompanied by a live band.
Having been known as one of the prototypes of a television mean girl in her Nellie Oleson role from Little House on the Prairie, Alison offers the advice to young actresses who are playing villain roles to be prepared for fan backlash, but to also realize that you can be likeable as a villain, without trying, and then if you play a villainous fictional character and receive real life backlash, it is a sign that your acting performance was very strong, and that the negative backlash is actually a compliment to your acting. She cautions to avoid playing a villain in "reality television," since such characters use their real names, and it can be very difficult to convince fans to separate their perceptions of the staged version of that person from the real life person. Based on my phone conversation with Alison Arngrim, I can assure fans that she comes across as a very kind, friendly, and positive person in real life, which only makes her acting as Nellie Oleson all the more impressive.
If movie, television, or theater producers, including those who are virtually unknown, are interested in casting Alison Arngrim for projects in the future, the best approach is to go through her agent. Alison's website is http://AlisonArngrim.net, which contains contact information for her agent, and links to her social media, upon which she is very active. She also has another website at http://bonnetheads.com.
Always...Patsy Cline shows tremendous promise for continuing the consistent pattern of first-rate productions that can be expected every time at the Sharon Playhouse. For times and tickets to see Alison Arngrim in Always...Patsy Cline, please go to https://www.sharonplayhouse.org/. Please check back on Broadwayworld.com in a few days for my full review of the show.