It’s Always a Good Time for Patsy Cline…Especially This Holiday Season
Written by Cori Wilbur
December 4, 2018
Cathy Barnett is really excited to not be in the middle of Kansas hanging up Christmas decorations this year. Instead, she’ll be here in San Diego, performing in North Coast Repertory Theatre’s run of Always…Patsy Cline.
This musical, written by Ted Swindley, which centers around the unique bond between the country music star and an ardent fan, is a reminder that generosity and humility is the true meaning of the holiday season.
This show, directed by Allegra Libonati, will feature Katie Karel as Patsy Cline; opposite to her is Barnett as Louise Seger, a role she has been doing in various productions of the play since 1995.
“She was a frontierswoman for women in country music. She had so much gumption and confidence in her ability,” Karel expressed about her character. We can all learn something from Patsy Cline–that compassion and ambition are not mutually exclusive. Instead of becoming competitive, she championed for others while simultaneously finding success.
From her early days all the way through to superstardom and her untimely death, Patsy Cline maintained the same graciousness toward everyone, especially her fans. Excerpts from the correspondence between Cline and Seger supply audiences with a narrative that highlights just how much the singer meant to her fans–and vice versa.
“The story about their friendship is really beautiful to watch, especially from a female perspective. It’s just a lovely, mutual friendship and the play doesn’t rely on any other tropes than that,” Karel articulated. “Amazing storytelling that comes from the other character, Louise, and then the beautiful music, from Patsy.”
“It is two women lifting each other up. It’s not about competition or jealousy,” appended Barnett.
Similar to the characters they play, Karel and Barnett have developed a close friendship and shared respect over the years, that transcends both personally and professionally. In fact, Karel was the one who suggested Barnett for the role of Seger.
There may be no direct mentions of the holidays in this revue, however, Patsy Cline provides both old and new fans of the songstress alike with the same type of nostalgia and reverie that comes along with this time of year.
“When you think of the fleeting nature of the holidays, it’s always a time when we’re reflecting, we’re thinking on life and all the things we have and all the things we want,” Karel remarked. “I just think of Patsy’s life and how grateful we all are for even the short time she was with us.”
Always…Patsy Cline opens next Wednesday, December 12, at the North Coast Repertory Theatre. To find out more about show dates and to purchase tickets, please visit https://northcoastrep.org/holidays-at-north-coast-rep/.