One of the best-loved names in country music is the subject of a play that is being brought to Sunnyside by the Daybreak Rotary Club.
Always . . . Patsy Cline will be performed only once in Sunnyside, on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Sunnyside High School auditorium. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m.
This funny and touching tribute is based on a true story, telling of a Texan named Louise and her friendship with the then-quickly-rising country music star, Patsy Cline.
This is a two-woman show with a live band back-up. Karin Vogel, playing the devoted fan and Texas divorcee, Louise Seger, keeps the show on the road with snappy patter that actually serves as narration for the action.
Patsy Cline's part is taken by Mary Katherine Nicholson, who sings her way through 25 numbers that are guaranteed to tug at the heart strings.
The Bodacious Bobcats Band provides the musical accompaniment.
In this two-act play, Louise became an avid fan after hearing Patsy Cline sing on the Arthur Godfrey Show. She pesters the local country western radio station to play "I Fall to Pieces" several times each day. It almost seems as if Louise propelled Patsy to success just through demanding her voice's constant exposure.
A chance meeting brings the two women together, and they become fast friends, sharing their joys and sorrows throughout a two-year period prior to Patsy Cline's death in an airplane crash.
The play gives an intimate look at the woman behind the legend. It shows Patsy, the mother who missed her children on the road; the wife, who worried about her husband. It tells the real story of what it meant to be one of Nashville's first "girl singers", and the sacrifices it took to maintain stardom on the road.
This is the insider's story, as only a true friend could tell it.
The action of the play takes place around Louise's kitchen table and at various places from Patsy Cline's career, including the Grand Ole Opry, the Arthur Godfrey Show, the Esquire Ballroom and a Houston radio station.
In addition to playing Patsy Cline, Nicholson is director of choreography. She has been directing, acting and choreographing at the Claire vg Thomas Theatre in Lynden for more than 11 years. She has also performed professionally as an actress and dancer in the Seattle area and throughout the western United States.
Kathy de Waard is music director, also playing piano in the band as Kathy Bob.
Her fellow musicians are Larry Miller, on lead guitar as Billy Bob; Dave Fast, bass as Jay Bob; Celeste Larson, fiddle as C.C. Joy Bob; Scott Davis, percussionist as Bob Bob; and Phil Radke, pedal steel as Jim Bob.
In spite of her brief career, the country legend's voice continues to enthrall fans and influence many of today's country singers.
John Topp's Family Band will play bluegrass music as an opener for the show.
Tickets will be available at the door the night of the musical. Admission is $12. They also can be purchased in advance from the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce office at 700 S. Sixth Street.
All funds will be used by Sunnyside Daybreak Rotary Club for local projects, which in the past have included purchasing dictionaries for local fifth graders, donations to the Sunnyside Museum, the Pathway, Rotary Youth Exchange and local food banks.
The play is produced by the Lynden Performing Arts Guild. It was written and originally directed by Ted Swindley. It is licensed by the family and estate of Patsy Cline.