News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
THEATER: UMW STILL CRAZY FOR PATSY CLINE
Country music star Patsy Cline will make her comeback in Fredericksburg during the month of July.
Well, sort of.
The University of Mary Washington Department of Theatre and Dance is bringing back its popular production “Always … Patsy Cline” after its sold-out run earlier this year for an additional 18 performances.
The production’s director, Gregg Stull, said the show had been so well received that the conversation to reboot it was begun during the original run.
“We sold every available ticket and there was great demand for more tickets,” Stull said, “so we had a conversation and decided we would revive it in the summer.”
The show is based on the true story of Patsy Cline’s friendship with fan Louise Seger. They corresponded through a series of letters and phone calls until Cline died tragically in a plane crash in 1963.
Rising UMW senior Taryn Snyder, who plays Patsy Cline, said that rebooting a production is a first for the cast and crew.
“In the past week, we’ve brought the show to new heights. It’s amazing we pulled it back together in a week,” she said. “Remembering all the songs was the easy part. It’s definitely been a triumph for us, that we could accomplish all that within a week.”
Stull, who is also chairman of UMW’s theatre and dance department, said that remounting the show has been an educational experience for the students involved.
He said that the cast and crew’s comfortable working relationship will propel the show to an even more impressive level a second time around.
“I think that the show grows over time, so I think that the performances have a richer, more mature quality,” Stull said, “because the actors have lived with it for several months since the first run closed.”
Snyder said that putting the role of Patsy Cline away for a few months was an interesting experience, partially because she’d never had to do it before.
“These last few months have given me time to breathe in the role,” Snyder said, “and find new things about the character and myself that I didn’t have the first time around.”
Several of the crew members and both of the leads live in Fredericksburg, but everyone else instrumental to the production had to make arrangements to be in town during late June and July. Rehearsals began June 30 for the show, which opened for its second run last night.
Stage manager Jamie Wilson, who graduated from UMW in May, said that the benefit for students was not only their ability to re-create a great show but also their growth as professionals.
“We’ve never had to tear down a set and store it or put all the documents together to make sure we have everything we need,” she said. “This is a common practice in the professional theater, so we’re definitely learning different lessons.”
Though Stull projects the second run of “Always” will be successful, he said that a third run is not in the show’s future.
“We do our shows for the education of our students. I think it’s a great experience for them to learn how to remount a show—and they learned a lot from it,” he said. “There wouldn’t be much to learn from doing it a third time.”
WANT TO GO?
What: “Always … Patsy Cline”
Where: UMW, duPont Hall, Klein Theatre
When: July 9–12, 16–19, 23–26 at 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinées July 12–13, 19–20, 26–27
Cost: $40, $35 students, 65 and older, alumni and military, $25 for groups of 10 or more
Info: 540/654-1111; umw.tix.com
Dawnthea Price: 540/374-5403