‘Al­ways ... Patsy Cline’ is a hit at Pollard

The Oklahoman - - LIFE & STYLE -

The Pollard The­atre closes Sea­son 31 with “Al­ways ... Patsy Cline.” The show was pre­sented a few sea­sons ago and the response was so en­thu­si­as­tic that Pollard de­cided to put it on again.

Ti­mothy Ste­wart re­turns to direct two in­com­pa­ra­ble ac­tresses as Patsy Cline and her great friend and fan, Louise Seger. They are Kara Chapman as Miss Patsy Cline and Jodi Ne­s­tander as Seger.

The story is based on Cline’s life and career and comes from the let­tersshe and Seger ex­changed from 1961 to Cline's tragic death in an air­plane crash in 1963.

In 1957 Seger heard Cline sing “Walk­ing Af­ter Mid­night,” her up­com­ing re­lease on Decca records, on the Arthur God­frey Show. Seger knew at that mo­ment that Cline needed to be a hit, be­cause she was singing the way Seger wanted to sing. Cline was not an im­me­di­ate overnight suc­cess. She never lost her twang, she only gave it class. Chapman gives it the same class.

By 1961 she was on her way and Seger was well known by Hal Harris at KIKK Ra­dio in Hous­ton for her daily re­quests for Cline’s records. When Seger heard that Cline was go­ing to be in town, she was de­ter­mined to go to that gig.

Seger brought her boss and her boyfriend to the Honky Tonk lo­ca­tion a lit­tle early. So did Cline, and when the two women met they re­al­ized they were des­tined to be friends. From that time un­til Cline’s death, they cor­re­sponded and every let­ter Seger re­ceived from Cline was signed "Love, Al­ways ... Patsy Cline."

The two com­pared notes on love and mar­riage, chil­dren and men. Both women were quite vol­u­ble on the sub­ject of men at their worst, and at their best. Cline had fi­nally found the right man in Char­lie Dick, but he wasn’t so easy to get along with and hav­ing an out­let in her friend­ship with Seger may have made a dif­fer­ence.

Ste­wart has brought this show back to stand­ing ova­tion qual­ity that must not be missed. Ne­s­tander is a won­der­ful ac­tress who can sing melo­di­ously. She plays a lady who un­der­stands Cline’s voice bet­ter than any­one else.

Chapman is a won­der­ful singer who can act truth­fully. She plays a lady of great am­bi­tion who un­der­stands the lyrics of her songs and their ap­peal.

As a young man, Wil­lie Nel­son took his song “Crazy” to Cline be­cause he knew she would know how to sing it. Seger knew it, too. That’s what Cline and Seger had in com­mon. This is what Ne­s­tander and Chapman have in com­mon, also, and it shows. Chapman has a voice that makes you think it is 1963 and Miss Patsy Cline is right there on that stage singing di­rectly to you as if you were the only soul that un­der­stood her.

— Eliz­a­beth Hurd, for The Ok­la­homan

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