Sweet dreams of Patsy Cline come to Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

Sweet dreams of Patsy Cline come to Carbondale

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” “I don’t want to get rich,” Patsy Cline was fond of saying, “just live good.”

Oh, don’t we all?

That’s the real heart of the musical “Always…Patsy Cline,” it seems. Continuing tonight and Saturday, the show features Jeannie Walla as Cline and Cara Daniel as her bosom bud, Louise Seger. Together, the women paint a loving portrait of the singer ” someone who still intrigues so many of us, even 45 years after her death.

“The more you find out about her, the more you love her,” said Walla.

And it’s not just the big hair and gaudy costumes that do it.

Here’s a lady who was rich and famous, but also modest and down-to-earth ” and just as lonesome as the rest of us.

For the more than three years she’s been in “Always,” Walla has got to step into Cline’s shoes, singing her songs to boot. Oftentimes, people tell her it looks like she’s channeling.

“I just think for two hours each night, I get Patsy visiting me in a very real way,” she said.

The show still has to be bigger than all that magic, though. For even someone as dynamic as Cline can’t just stand before a crowd and tell them how well-liked she was. Of all people, even she needs a foil.

And her name is Louise.

In real life, Seger was a huge fan of Cline’s, who started listening to her early on in her career. One night, after a show of hers, Seger invited Cline back to her house for bacon and eggs. They were fast friends after that, and their correspondence lasted until Cline’s death. Much of what Cline says in “Always” is taken from their letters, in fact.

“I feel she’s very important to the show,” said Daniel, of Seger. “I think she brings Patsy to life in many ways.”

While the Cline character is the famous one of the show, Seger is the rock. While Cline gets to sing innumerable songs and change costumes maybe 20 times, Seger mostly stays put, sitting in her kitchen. She’s the one who tells the audience about Cline’s life, her troubles and triumphs and everything in-between. With her over-the-top personality and a bright red wig (with a personality of its own), Seger is who truly ties the piece together. Most times, explained Daniel, people come to the show to see Cline the first time. But Seger is what makes them come back a second.

“It really works,” said Daniel. “She tells how beloved Patsy is, which Patsy can’t do.”

For both stars, this play has been a chance to see much deeper into Cline’s soul. Here’s a woman who, in six short years, redefined country music, putting her indelible mark on an industry seen before her as strictly a boy’s club. With her soulful, distinctive voice, she could cover anyone’s song and make it her own. Without her, Daniel was sure there have been no Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton. She paved the way for them, seemingly without ever ceasing to be herself. As Walla sweetly described Cline, the phrases “no artifice” and “self-effacing” kept coming up.

Forget Cline’s old albums and her biopic with all that lip-synching. As Walla sees it, the real way to experience Cline is to hear her, live and in-person, right in front you.

Of course, a caring, dedicated proxy will have to do.

“I feel like it’s an honor to do that, because it brings Patsy Cline to a vast audience,” said Walla.

She wants Cline to “come alive before their eyes,” she then added.

So, to be worth its salt, the show has to go to the core of the Cline. It has to describe a woman who was not just famous, talented and brassy, but love-lorn, vulnerable and real. To make her truly human, the play has to illustrate just why she needed such a good friend.

Because, really, don’t we all?

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