Always, Patsy Cline at the Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio on 3 is an incredibly well done production that will sweep the audience off their feet and into a show that tells the story of Louise Seger, and her friendship with Patsy Cline. Personally, I cannot say enough positive things about this production. Director, Debi Marcucci, creates an environment that keeps the audience engaged, and the story moving. The two person cast of Denise Whelan and Jenny Lee Stern are dynamic together as they depict this evolving friendship. Always, Patsy Cline is a show that should not be missed this spring, it will charm audiences with its moving story and incredible performances.
Ted Swindley’s 1990 musical, Always, Patsy Cline, follows the story of how Louise Seger and Patsy Cline met and bonded in Houston in 1961. The show is based on the touching true story of the friendship between Cline and Singer, and their story is told through music, laughter and heartfelt stories. One of the aspects of this production that really works well for this story is the intimate space of the Independence Studio. The studio creates a personal experience with the audience and both Denise Whelan, who plays Louise Seger, and Jenny Lee Stern, who plays Patsy Cline, utilize this intimacy to its full potential. They successfully incorporate the audience into this beautiful story, and make the show captivating and entertaining.
Jenny Lee Stern’s performance as Patsy Cline is perfect in this role. She inhabits the liveliness and vulnerability of Cline. Her vocal performance is powerful throughout the show, and audiences will delight in hearing her sing Cline’s well-known songs such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Walkin’ After Midnight.” In addition Stern portrays the tender and vulnerable side of Cline, particularly in the scenes with Whelan. Stern and Whelan have a strong chemistry onstage, which makes the bond between these two characters delightful to watch. Denise Whelan is a ball of fire and gives a strong performance as Louise Seger. One of the aspects of Whelan’s performance that stands out is how she can convey such deep emotion with her eyes and facial expression. She makes Seger relatable to the audience, and has an incredible amount of energy on the stage.
I also need to mention Billy Thompson and Spiff Wiegand who pleasingly make up the onstage band. Mark Mariani created the vibrant costumes. Glen Sears designed the detailed set. Troy A. Martin-O’Shia is the Lighting Designer and John Kolbinski is the Sound Designer.
Always, Patsy Cline runs at the Walnut Street Theatre through July 3, 2016. For more information and tickets visit their website at www.walnutstreettheatre.org or call the box office at 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787.
Final Thought: Always, Patsy Cline at the Walnut’s Independence Studio is a well-crafted production that audiences will love even if they are not familiar with Patsy Cline. Denise Whelan and Jenny Lee Stern give incredible performances as they tell the story of this heartfelt friendship.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin
Kelli Curtin is editor and writer for theatresensation.com. In addition, she is a contributor for the online site broadwayworld.com. Kelli is excited to share her passion about theatre and the Arts with her readers. Kelli can be found on Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram.