Always…Patsy Cline, the first production of the semester, opened in Klein Theater last week. This production includes a two-person cast, in addition to a live band and offstage background singers.
Based on a true story, the production takes place in early 1960’s Houston, Texas, where divorced Louise Seger meets her country idol, Patsy Cline. The production chronicles their blossoming friendship.
While a two-person cast may seem incomplete in the theatre world, Louise’s personality takes center stage and brushes off any doubt audience members may have for the production’s success. When recapping how she first fell in love with Patsy Cline, Louise, played by junior Emily Burke, adds pizzazz to the narration.
Fredericksburg citizen Valerie Brown said, “I absolutely loved it. They made her real to me. The way they described her made it feel like I personally knew her.”
Burke’s character packs a powerful punch, as her “cute-as-a-button” facial expressions are coupled with her feisty attitude and sprinkle of sass.
By the end of the night, audience members left the house repeating Louise’s memorable lines like “And she seemed greatly relieved,” or “And they fit me like a glove. Well, they did.” In addition, Burke was cautious in not overdoing the Southern accent, which was a perfect fit for her character.
What is really commendable however is that Burke was able to engage with the audience members by remarking on their appearances as well as dancing with them. The fact that Burke was able to refer back to her old dancing partner when saying “Love’s lost and love’s found” made it seem like it was part of the script, which was an extremely smart move.
While Louise is upbeat and cheery throughout the whole production, Burke is successful in transforming that lively energy into somber feelings during the more serious events the plot follows.
Although Burke livened up the atmosphere with her acting and constant urging of audience members to participate, her counterpart, junior Taryn Snyder’s was not able to convey much personality.
However, this is not Snyder’s fault; it is in the script. The script forces Burke’s character to be the drive the story, which limits Snyder’s role to only portraying the life of the singer.
That being said, Snyder did a remarkable job switching from her diva-singer identity to Louise’s down-to-earth best friend at the drop of a hat. While Burke’s acting took the spotlight, Snyder really exuded country chic and channeled her inner Patsy Cline.
Snyder’s vocals were unbelievably electric, yet soothing at the same time. Snyder really sang her heart out. Audience members were trying to figure out who was behind this Patsy Cline persona.
When asked what was her favorite part of the performance, Brown replied, “The best part was the singing.”
Regardless of the fact that Snyder kept singing song after song without taking a break, she impressively maintained her vocals and gave each song the same effort and energy from beginning to end.
Overall, Snyder’s performances were nothing short of amazing. One would think they were at a country concert instead of Klein Theater. Even to a self-proclaimed country music doubter, the music was enjoyable. The mix of upbeat songs to more heartbreaking ones was a great balance.
UMW students seemed to like it just as much as the Fredericksburg community. “It was one of the best shows I’ve seen,” exclaimed senior Bourdain Hayes. Senior Meredith Atkinson also agreed saying, “It was good. I loved the costumes.”
With the characters’ adorable and spunky personalities, coupled with fierce powerful vocals, the entertaining Always…Patsy Cline is a must see this semester.