NEWBERRY — Anyone who loves country music or even popular music of the ’50s and ’60s knows Patsy Cline. With the breath control of an opera diva, Cline would slide from note to note in “Crazy” evoking pathos is every word.
Her casual delivery of “Walkin’ After Midnight” never masked the sincerity of the emotions. In other words, she made us feel her music.
“Always…Patsy Cline” will be performed by the Newberry Community Players at the Newberry Opera House on June 21 at 8 p.m. and June 22 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. These performances will be the third year in a row NCP has presented “Always … Patsy Cline.”
Cline is portrayed by Newberry local Savannah Hunt Greene.
“Even that first year rehearsing in Lloyd’s basement, there was something special in the air,” Greene said. “We have all been humbled by the response from crowds. I’m personally thrilled to get to step back in Patsy’s shoes … or boots.”
Cline’s music is the draw, but Louise is the true entertainment. Greene’s real life mom Ellen Hunt portrays Louise Seger, Patsy Cline’s real life fan turned friend.
Admitting that Louise’s character was created part from one of her aunts and part from her own personal wild side, Ellen relayed how Louise has become part of her identity.
“Recently we were looking for a car to buy. When my husband asked me what kind I wanted, I laughed and told him that Louise would want a blue Mustang. Guess what I now get to drive,” said Hunt.
Louise’s antics and dialogue help us relate to the 27 Patsy Cline classics that are sung during the production. Based on a true story, most of the “action” of the play takes place during the night Louise and Patsy met.
Every performance in live theater has its own personality, but this is even truer due to Louise’s interaction with the crowd and the band.
The band is the real glue of the story and is made up of real musicians who have been playing since childhood. Lloyd Brigman may be known for his contracting business, but he is the quintessential steel guitar player. He has been playing with Wayne Golden since they were in high school. Wayne’s Chet Atkins style pickin’ has earned him acclaim. Together they are the heart of the Golden Steel band, which was the last winner of Newberry’s Local Legends competition.
Fellow Golden Steel member Don Henry (bass) was in a band that had a record deal when he was young and hasn’t stopped playing since. Jimmy Underwood (drums) admits to not being a huge Patsy Cline fan before. This rock n’ roll member of Grand Illusion certainly is a Patsy fan now.
Newberry College grad and WCS Band Director Chris Wofford at keyboards keeps the rowdy band together. He also plays in a Southern rock band and leads the praise band at Central United Methodist Church, but he grew up playing country music and loves Patsy.
Tickets for “Always … Patsy Cline” are $25 (plus fees) and are available through the Newberry Opera House at 803-276-6264 or online at newberryoperahouse.com. Groups of 15 or more can enjoy a $20 rate. For $65 enjoy both the play and dinner at Steven W’s Downtown Bistro with the dinner and a show package.
Hunt, who also serves as Newberry Community Players chairman, confessed that Patsy will be going in the vault after this summer performance.
“We have been graciously invited to perform the show for a national convention in Atlanta this summer the week following our run at the Opera House. But, after that Louise may have to go in moth balls for a while,” she said.
When asked what that means for Louise’s neon blue mustang, Hunt admits that Louise might let her drive it for a while.