BWW Review: ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE Shines at BDT Stage
Theater is a business built on fantasy. We attend productions with suspended disbelief in an effort to step into a world different than our own, and yet, some of the most groundbreaking theatrical works are grounded in historical reference. Some of these shows are on my list of personal favorites, and some get added later, including BDT Stage's latest production, Always...Patsy Cline.
Based on a true story, Always...Patsy Cline tells the tale of Ms. Cline and her fateful meeting with star-struck fan, Louise Seger. Their friendship blossomed and they quickly became pen-pals, writing each other up until Cline's untimely death at age thirty in a plane crash.
A cast of two, BDT's production, although not without room for critique, is truly a mesmerizing piece of work. From the very first moment Norrell Moore opened her mouth as Ms. Cline, I was drawn into Louise Seger's living room, watching in awe, just as she did, as if Patsy were really standing in front of me singing. Moore's commitment to the role is a reminder of why this art form exists in the first place. As Seger, Alicia K. Meyers - who also served as co-director - is just as thrilling as her show-partner. Her comedic timing and improvisation skills were natural and fitting at every turn. The chemistry between the two was also something to be admired.
The production quality of the show was the perfect complement to the performances. Under the direction of Meyers and fellow co-director Michael J. Duran, the creative staff, for the most part, put their best work forward. The only area I felt was underwhelming when compared with the rest of the show elements was scenic design by Amy Campion. By and large, the set was too simple and did not do much to add to the scene, although the quality of what was presented was certainly realistic and fair. Stand outs from the design team include costume design by Linda Morken and Debbie Spaur at the head of hair and wig design. Their work, especially for Cline's wardrobe, is nothing short of stunning.
Historical pieces have an incredible role in musical theater repertoire. When they are written and produced "right," they can have a deeper impact on the community than surface-level happiness. Always...Patsy Cline is one of those shows, and BDT Stage's production is not one to miss.
Photo courtesy of BDT Stage