‘Always … Patsy Cline’ fine musical entertainment Seibert as Cline delivers amazing and effortless singing

Margo Seibert captures Cline’s raw power and delivers an emotional, musically satisfying performance. All photos courtesy Weston Playhouse Theatre Company.

By David Lampe-Wilson
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm goes Country with Always … Patsy Cline, not so much a play as a two-volume tribute album of greatest hits. While the music is great and the vocals are stellar, Ted Swindley’s book for this jukebox jamboree is as emotionally empty as the hole of a 45 RPM record. But what surrounds it – the music – makes for a fine evening of entertainment.

The show’s conceit is a tenuous device – Louise (Celina Dean) meets Patsy Cline (Margo Seibert) at a roadhouse in Texas and they spend the night talking and singing. Based, we are told, on a true story, the plot is an excuse to introduce a total of 27 songs, including classics by the likes of Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Sr., Neil Sedaka and Cole Porter.

Cline was the first female country singer to cross over into the pop charts and she is still considered by many to be one of the best country singers of all time.

If you haven’t heard of her or if you want to hear the most memorable songs of her career, Always…Patsy Cline really delivers in the music department.

Celina Dean as Louise keeps the play moving with hot and sassy humor.

Margo Seibert’s singing is amazing and she makes it seem effortless. Her voice captures much of Cline’s raw power, and Seibert provides Cline’s songs of loss and regret with a glistening of tears and bold emotion. While Seibert seems a bit more stylish and sophisticated than high school dropout Cline was, she delivers the goods every time she’s called upon to sing.

Celina Dean’s Louise is right out of the TV show Hee Haw: her Louise is country gal served up hot and sassy. Dean is called on to narrate, tell jokes, keep the show rolling and cover those times when Patsy Cline is offstage doing a costume change. The audience on opening night ate up her wise-cracking country corn, even though her exuberance sometimes upstaged a musical number.

Director Meredith McDonough has made great use of Andrew Boyce’s flexible setting, which splits the stage into distinct areas: honky-tonk bar, Grand Ole Opry and Louise’s kitchen. The show flows freely among these scenes while the orchestra, which runs along the rear of the stage, is always present.

Margo Seibert as Patsy Cline.

Emily Croome’s musical direction is top-drawer and she sets the pace for five other talented musicians. Costume Designer Kathleen Geldard gives us plenty of country glitz and should be forgiven for providing a red outfit that Louise describes as pink. Paul Toben’s lighting design provides pop and clarity while Mike Tracey’s sound design resists overwhelming the audience in Walker Farm’s small theater.

Always … Patsy Cline offers plenty of musical entertainment for a hot summer night.

Always … Patsy Cline continues through Aug. 24 at Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, 705 Main St., Weston. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; matinees are at 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $45 to $60. For information and to purchase tickets, click here or call 802-824-5288.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeIn the ArtsReviews

About the Author: After 30 years as a theater critic and arts editor for a Connecticut daily newspaper, David Lampe-Wilson transplanted to Vermont with his wife and two cats.

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