In­clined to­wards Patsy

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

COUNTRY mu­sic singer Courtney Con­way grew up in Bendigo lis­ten­ing to her par­ents play­ing ev­ery­thing from the clas­sics of Dolly Par­ton and Patsy Cline to con­tem­po­rary artists Lee Ker­naghan, Gina Jef­fries and Sha­nia Twain.

So the Tam­worth Col­lege of Country Mu­sic grad­u­ate, who now lives with her hus­band in Man­durah, was shocked to find when she ac­cepted the role of Patsy Cline in stage show Al­ways… Patsy Cline there were a few songs she had not heard be­fore.

“I was def­i­nitely a Patsy Cline fan be­fore I was part of the show,” Con­way said.

“I knew who she was and knew a lot of her songs al­ready, but say­ing that, out of the 27 songs in the show there were some I didn’t know, which re­ally sur­prised me.”

Al­ways… Patsy Cline is based on the true story of Cline’s friend­ship with fan Louise Seger (played by Mandi Lodge), who she met in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961 and kept cor­re­spon­dence with un­til her death in 1963.

The cabaret-style show opened in Mel­bourne in June and has been tour­ing Aus­tralia since.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful and heart­felt story about a gor­geous friend­ship and the won­der­ful back­story of Patsy Cline’s life,” Con­way said.

“Of course it’s sad too be­cause Patsy passed away when she was only 30 years old in a plane crash, which is only one year older than I am now.

“I think peo­ple are fas­ci­nated by that be­cause she had such great suc­cess in such a short amount of time and peo­ple won­der what she could have done if she’d lived a bit longer.”

Clas­si­cally-trained pi­anist Con­way said the stage role was a world away from her usual per­for­mance style, which won her the 2011 Na­tional Country Mu­sic Award for Best New Tal­ent.

“When I per­form on­stage I don’t have a script or write down what I’m go­ing to say; I find it more nat­u­ral to talk about my songs off the top of my head,” she said.

“So say­ing the ex­act same thing writ­ten in the script ev­ery time was pretty daunt­ing.

“The songs were a chal­lenge too be­cause Patsy had a much big­ger range than me and she sang very dif­fer­ently than I would too.

“I stud­ied her for 12 months, try­ing to get the ac­cent and pro­nun­ci­a­tion right, get­ting my range to stretch the same as hers be­cause I couldn’t change the key of the song.

“I’m so glad I was able to do it.”

Courtney Con­way as Patsy Cline

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