I attended the press performance of Firebrand Theatre’s Always… Patsy Cline at The Den Theatre in Wicker Park last night. You’ll be able to hear my full report on WCGO’s Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall this Sunday, November 24th, 2019, from 1-3 pm central time.
What the Press Release Says
“ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE is based on the true story of Patsy’s friendship with Houstonite Louise Seger. Having first heard Patsy on the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1957, Louise became an immediate and avid fan of Patsy’s and she constantly hounded the local disc jockey to play Patsy’s records on the radio.”
“In 1961 when Patsy went to Houston for a show, Louise and her buddies arrived about an hour-and-a-half early and, by coincidence, met Patsy who was traveling alone. The two women struck up a friendship – a friendship that lasted the rest of Patsy Cline’s life.”
Initial Impressions of “Always… Patsy Cline”
You don’t have to enjoy country music to appreciate Always… Patsy Cline, but it sure does help. This is a two-woman play (in addition to the live band on stage), and much of the production is devoted to performances of Patsy Cline’s songs.
The music and singing is quite good, as is the telling of the real-life story of a friendship between Patsy and Louise. There are no dramatic revelations here, just a reminder that human bonds can easily be forged when we are willing to take a few risks.
Both Harmony France and Christina Hall (who will switch roles during the show’s run) offer strong performances. While the staging encourages audience engagement with the production, the energy exuded by Hall and France did most of the work: It seemed like most of us were clapping and tapping our feet during the musical interludes.
Venue: The Den Theatre
The Den Theatre is a coworking space for many of Chicago’s small theater companies. That said, there is nothing spartan about the space. This multi-story building includes multiple stages, along with bar and lounge areas decorated as cozy dens, with antique furniture, art deco posters, and books.
Always… Patsy Cline, is located in the Bookspan Theater, which is on the first floor of the building. The theater is a short walk from the Division Blue Line Station and the Milwaukee Avenue bus will take you even closer to the theater. Parking in the area can be tricky, so add extra time if you plan to drive.