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Theatre Review: Always…Patsy Cline a Safe Choice

 Lisa Much Theatre Review: Always…Patsy Cline a Safe ChoiceKristie Koehler Vuocolo (Louise Seger), left, and Katie Deal (Patsy Cline) star in CATCO’s production of Always...Patsy Cline through June 22 at the Vern Riffe Center, Studio Two Theatre. Photo by Dave Alkire.
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Let me preface all of this by stating that I do not particularly enjoy musicals where plot subordinates the music. I like driving stories and forward momentum. I wrote those same two sentences a year ago to introduce CATCO’s musical Five Guys Named Moe and feel the need to reiterate those feelings for the much worse Always…Patsy Cline.

The show chronicles the true friendship between Patsy Cline and a fan she once met named Louise Seger. Cline even spent the night at the woman’s house, and the two became lifelong friends. Basically, Clines’s songs are sung between snippets of Louise’s retelling of the story of their meeting that one time. This goes on for two hours.

Katie Deal plays what might be a fairly accurate Patsy Cline. She has portrayed the singer many times previously, so the songs sound quite good and like Ms. Cline. While Cline’s reputation of generosity and respect remain strong to this day, Deal’s characterization paints the singer in a hyper-angelic light. It feels a bit fake and full of unrealistic adoration, but maybe that’s just Southern hospitality I don’t understand.

Kristie Koehler Vuocolo (Louise Seger), left, and Katie  Deal (Patsy Cline) star in CATCO’s upcoming production of Always...Patsy Cline May 28-June 15 at the Vern Riffe Center, Studio Two Theatre. Visit catcoistheatre for more information. Photo Credit: Dave Alkire

Kristie Koehler Vuocolo (Louise Seger), left, and Katie Deal (Patsy Cline) star in CATCO’s  production of Always…Patsy Cline through June 22 at the Vern Riffe Center, Studio Two Theatre. Photo by Dave Alkire.

Kristie Koehler Vuocolo plays a quirky Louise. I overheard an audience member mentioning he would’ve liked Louise toned down. I could not agree more. The character grates on nerves yet should provide comedy, but she ultimately creates a desperate, star-struck, further idolatry feel to this production. This is underscored by the putrid Mondrian-esque floor that obnoxiously clashes with her pink Western blouse. The character seems entirely out of place in a show that is kind of partially about her.

Music director Matt Clemens ensures the music, which everyone goes to hear, sounds fine. The band, David Wolbert, Devin Copfer, Andrew Sais, and Matt Tippy, proves a delight to both watch and listen to. They possess a fun energy among themselves. Marcia Hain designs a plethora of very appropriate, period, and beautiful costumes mostly for Patsy Cline.

Overall, this production feels comfortable. No risks were taken either in its selection or its execution. In fact, no risks were taken in the writing of the show. The script contains no conflict. This is literally a concert with an annoying narrator. The set feels tired, as though a previously used CATCO set received a different coat of paint, and the lighting looks drab as it switches between lighting the entire theater and focusing on the microphone. Always…Patsy Cline feels like a safe chaser to CATCO’s recent production of Steel Magnolias.

CATCO will sell out most of the shows; in fact, it was already extended to June 22. People that grew up listening to Patsy Cline will probably love this show. Those that did not may find it entertaining, but the pacing remains tortoise-like slow and the plot near non-existent to capture my attention.

Always…Patsy Cline plays through June 22 at Studio Two in the Vern Riffe Center, 77 S. High Street. Thurs-Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 2 pm; Wed at 11 am. General Admission is $41.00 on Thurs. and Sun.; $45.00 on Fri. and Sat.
More information can be found online at CATCO.org.

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5 Responses to Theatre Review: Always…Patsy Cline a Safe Choice

  1. ddns June 4, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the show. Not sure you were watching the same thing as everyone else I’ve spoken to…and I haven’t seen it YET. Maybe it’s your preference in music, your age or your lack of ability to see the true essence of a production. Never the less, not one person has said anything negative about this show…so your opinion is your own. I respect personal opinions…and reserve the right to create/have, my own. All of the glowing reviews will be out-numbered by your sullied words. Wishing you a lifetime of experience. Deb Foster, Central Ohio.

  2. ddns June 4, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am

    this is just the first page…..Always Patsy Cline Fan Reviews – Ticketmaster
    5 / 5
    The Next Best Thing to the Real Thing
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Tue, Jun 2, 2009Posted 07/13/2009by Firedog
    Featured Review
    We loved this play! It was a great story about someone meeting and befriending Patsy Cline before she was really big. The songs were awesome. There were some parts where you could close your eyes and really believe that Patsy Cline was right in front of you!!
    Favorite moment: The songs.
    1 of 1 found this review helpful.
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    Review 2 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    It was great :)
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014Posted 06/03/2014by mouse789
    I really enjoyed this show; I’ve been a Patsy Cline fan for a very long time :)
    Favorite moment: When Patsy and Louise met :)
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    Review 3 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014
    Posted 06/03/2014by Ismc1066
    Outstanding show. The performances and songs brought back so many memories of my youth.
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    Review 4 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    The Always Patsy Cline Show was Unbelievable
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014
    Posted 06/03/2014by RD1112
    The Always Patsy Cline Show was Unbelievable. Gail & Jeri were both exceptionally good.
    Gail preformed all the memorable songs with style & a tribute to Patsy’s memory.
    Jeri did an excellent job of keeping the show together & entertaining us along the way.
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    Review 5 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014Posted 06/03/2014by Radnar
    A wonderful time. It made you feel as if you were actually at the breakfast table with Patsy Cline. I felt as if I was in the same room with her. The actresses were superb. The band was superb. Just a great time.
    Favorite moment: When Louise would turn of her car and flip the keys in the air and catch them. The band was right on with the sound.
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    Review 6 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    It was GREAT!
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014
    Posted 06/03/2014by reedrsra
    Great is the only word needed! Stars were spot on.
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    Review 7 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Always Patsy Cline
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014
    Posted 06/03/2014by Husbandnwife
    This was the best play we’ve seen in a long time. Not only was the singing superb But the acting was great. Don’t miss it.
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    Review 8 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    AWESOME? Everyone should go !
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014Posted 06/03/2014by TexasMia
    I loved Forever Patsy Cline and I am not even a country music lover. Gail did a great job as Patsy, her voice was incredible.
    The Houston fan kept the performance moving and added hilarity. I loved it.
    Favorite moment: Starting the car!
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    Review 9 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Always Patsy Cline
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014
    Posted 06/03/2014by Wheesy
    The music was terrific and the humor was great. It included an interesting story line.
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    Review 10 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Delightful!
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014Posted 06/03/2014by Kjandcam
    Saw the production many years ago in Denver, and was delighted at the chance to see it again and share the experience with my daughter. It was wonderful!
    Favorite moment: Y’all don’t get out much — must be Baptists!
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    Review 11 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Always…Patsy Cline
    Casa Manana – Fort Worth, TX – Sat, May 31, 2014
    Posted 06/03/2014by almrod
    Wonderful. The music was amazing and “Luise” hilarious!
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    Review 12 for Always Patsy Cline
    4 / 5
    Always Patsy Cline was great
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sun, Nov 3, 2013Posted 11/06/2013by Bzzzzr
    The music was dead on, couldn’t tell the difference. Lisa Layne’s voice was impressive, she made it look easy. The way it was presented was fun and light with a good sense of humor in a southern style. Overall a very nice time and we always love the Landmark, such a beautiful building.
    Favorite moment: Crazy and Fall to Pieces.
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    Review 13 for Always Patsy Cline
    4 / 5
    Lisa Layne— as great a voice as Patsy Cline
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sun, Nov 3, 2013Posted 11/06/2013by Bfsyr
    I thoroughly enjoyed Lisa Layne as Patsy Cline. She has the voice and talent to carry it off with poise and grace. The back up band was very good and the woman (Lisa’s real life sister) excelled in the role of Louise. Unfortunately, I do not know her name, nor the names of any of the others because there was no program handed out. I do not know whose responsibility this is, but even every elementary school play I have been to has a program. The staging left much to be desired, definitely low-budget, but Lisa made you forget all that with her wonderful voice. I think this would have played better in a smaller, more intimate venue. I thought I was getting great seats— first row in the loge, but it really was too distant from the stage and the sound was meant to project into the first floor audience, not the loge.
    Favorite moment: All songs sung by Lisa were excellent!
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    Review 14 for Always Patsy Cline
    4 / 5
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sun, Nov 3, 2013
    Posted 11/06/2013by Anonymous
    These girls were alot of fun. Lisa Layne has a beautiful voice…very similar to Patsy Cline. And her sister is a STITCH. They will not dissappoint you.
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    Review 15 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Always Patsy Cline – very entertaining
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sat, Nov 2, 2013Posted 11/05/2013by Brudon
    This show in the beautiful Landmark Theatre was a superb show! The singer portraying Patsy was amazing, and spot on! She looked the part, sang beautifully and was very personable with the audience. The actress playing Louise almost stole the show! She was hysterically funny and a vital part of the story. I thought the weaving of the story of Patsy’s life was a great way to fit her songs to what was going on in her life.
    I would recommend this show to anyone who loved Patsy!
    Favorite moment: Any time Patsy and Louise were on the stage together!
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    Review 16 for Always Patsy Cline
    3 / 5
    The show was ok
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sat, Nov 2, 2013
    Posted 11/05/2013by NYcountrygirl777
    Would have preferred more singing and less talking by Louise
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    Review 17 for Always Patsy Cline
    4 / 5
    Fabulous
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sat, Nov 2, 2013Posted 11/05/2013by sjn21
    Both performers were excellent, at times you’d never know it wasn’t Patsy Cline singing. This was our second time seeing this show, both with different performers and both were so great. We will go a third time, after all, how can you not like the music of Patsy Cline.
    Favorite moment: Lisa’s rendition of Sweet Dreams. Louise’s character, she was great
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    Review 18 for Always Patsy Cline
    4 / 5
    Clear Channel are you in the room Patsy
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sat, Nov 2, 2013Posted 11/05/2013by TheLoneArranger
    The performance was fantastic. Patsy’s voice was channelled impeccably, the band was great, especially the piano and pedal steel guitar, and Louise was excellent in her ability to pick up the pieces and the pace.
    On the down side, it took a good while for the sound crew to amp up the volume adequately, the set was noticeably minimalistic, and unfortunately the audience was too small for the wonderful theatre. The only advertisement we saw for the show was via a Ticketmaster email. And there was no Sunday morning paper review to stimulate a better showing for the Sunday afternoon performance.
    I wish them success and would like to see the show again in a year or so to see how it has come along.
    Best Wishes,
    Jim and Catherine Steinman
    Syracuse, NY
    Favorite moment: The Curtain Call was unexpected, both by the audience and, perhaps, the performers. At least they made it look that way. Bravo!
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    Review 19 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    Always
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sat, Nov 2, 2013Posted 11/05/2013by Zeldafitz
    We loved the show. It was very entertaining, funny and her voice was great. I would recommend this show without any reservations.
    Favorite moment: When she sang I Fall To Pieces.
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    Review 20 for Always Patsy Cline
    5 / 5
    “Always” Patsy Cline
    Landmark Theatre – Syracuse, NY – Sat, Nov 2, 2013
    Posted 11/05/2013by EEYard
    Fantastic Show! If I didn’t know better, I would swear it was Patsy Cline on stage!
    She has a great voice and the show was hysterical! Would go again and again if it were available!

  3. BSethB June 5, 2014 3:35 pm at 3:35 pm

    Katie Deal. A magical experience. You fall in love with her every performance.

  4. ddns June 5, 2014 9:32 pm at 9:32 pm

    and yet, ANOTHER outstanding review. http://columbusfreepress.com/article/patsy-cline-showcase-leaves-viewers-sweet-dreams

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