ALTON — Alton Little Theater will produce a bonus musical for four performances Dec. 4-7.
“Always Patsy Cline” by Ted Swindley will be showcased and star Debbie Maneke as the woman with one of the most beautiful and distinctive voices in the history of country music. The musical, which premiered at the Ryman Auditorium in 2006, has been sweeping the country and most recently completed a long engagement with a professional company at the Westport Playhouse in St. Louis.
ALT originally sought the production rights and availability over two years ago and is proud to bring a fresh staging to the show, which anchors itself on the true-life friendship between Patsy and a lifelong fan from Houston, Louise Seger, who will be portrayed by Lee Cox.
The production is directed by Diana Enloe with musical direction by Steve Loucks (who also heads up the “Bodacious Bobcats.”) The talented group of musicians (including a vintage steel guitar player who just finished the run in St. Louis) leads the audience through more than 20 of Patsy’s most beloved hits, included “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams” and more.
Patsy recorded about 100 songs during her six years on the national stage before her tragic death at age 30 in an airplane crash on her way home to Nashville. Her incredible voice had taken her from an impoverished background in Winchester, Va., to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry many times, and even to Las Vegas, the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall. Patsy was not only known as country music’s best female singer of all time but was also revered for her accessibility and down-home values.
History records that she corresponded with several female friends and fans across the country and the book “Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline” chronicles her chance meeting with Louise Seger and their immediate connection of “broken hearts, loves lost, loves found and the challenges of being a working single mother.” In “Always Patsy Cline” the two actresses share the humor and the heart of their story and highlight many personal moments of Patsy’s unparalleled career and three-octave musical range. Debbie Maneke (who first recorded her own country song when she was Debbie Berry at age 14) says that she is “beyond honored” to portray the women she has come to so love and admire and to perform this special offering for ALT.
Ticket information is available at (618) 462-6562.