Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Always...Patsy Cline
The Wick Theatre
Review by Cindy Pierre


Lourelene Snedeker and Terri Dixon
Photo by Amy Pasquantonio
Have you ever been completely immersed in a theatrical experience? Enveloped in a culture that you didn't even know that you liked? Delighted and entertained as you revisited the past? If any of those sound appealing to you, then The Wick Theatre's production of Always...Patsy Cline is sure to keep you smiling. Playwright Ted Swindley tells the true-life story of the unexpected but endearing friendship between 1950s country artist Patsy Cline (Terri Dixon) and Houston housewife Louise Seeger (Lourelene Snedeker). The result is a 2.5 hour (with one intermission) escapade that alternates between a quaint kitchen and a glitzy stage.

Known for its plentiful and ostentatious costumes, The Wick Theatre's country facelift greets audiences as they walk through the lobby doors. Staff members, from the box office to the ushers, mill around in cowboy hats and scarves. Further in, the dining area sports tables adorned in red and white checkered tablecloths. The scene is relaxed and cozy and a perfect introduction for what's to come.

Always...Patsy Cline begins with projection designer Josieu T. Jean's montage of various clips from Patsy's life: album covers, magazine covers, press photos galore. The slideshow fades away to reveal a beautiful set meant to simulate the grandeur and stature of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and boy does it ever! Scenic designers Kyle Gosley and Kimberly Wick have collaborated to highlight and frame Patsy well.

As Patsy, Dixon is as captivating as she is confident. Although the Grand Ole Opry stage is impressive, Dixon's regal presence clad in Jim Buff's elegant costumes and accessories turns it into her crown. Her rich, sultry voice is the comfort food that you would normally say no to. In this inviting setting, she is hard to refuse.

As Patsy delivers some of her big hits backed by the aptly named Bodacious Bobcats Band, we meet Louise in her cute and colorful kitchen. Louise takes us down memory lane to recount her first encounter and subsequent long-distance friendship with Patsy. Coming off a successful portrayal of a Nazi collaborator in Blonde Poison, Snedeker triumphs again by playing yet another real person under very different circumstances. Recently divorced, but not letting life drag her down, Louise lights up whenever Patsy's music is played on the radio. She loves Patsy's music so much that she often calls the local DJ with requests. When she learns that Patsy is coming to her town, she never dreams of the friendship that will ensue. Being able to experience Louise's joy as she goes from being star-struck to becoming Patsy's confidant is one of the highlights of this musical. Snedeker is infectious, funny, passionate and warm.

The Wick's Always...Patsy Cline is a great show that features stellar performances under Dom Ruggiero's direction. Although a narrative arc or climax seems to be missing from act one, you will still look forward to more Patsy hits and the effortless chemistry between Dixon and Snedeker. The backgrounds of the characters are also unevenly distributed between the first and second act. The bulk of both of their histories is packed in act two. Although Dixon's vocals and Snedeker's vivaciousness are more than enough to propel the show forward, more personal history in act one would be welcome.

Always...Patsy Cline is The Wick's final show of their sixth season, and how apropos. Patsy's legacy lives on even after it was cut way too short by a plane crash in her 30th year. Those who are not familiar with her music will get a great crash course in her rhythms, and those who are well-versed will love the review.

Always...Patsy Cline, through May 19, 2019, at the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton FL. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are available at www.thewick.org for $75-85 or by calling 561-995-2333.

Cast:
Patsy Cline: Terri Dixon
Louise Seeger: Lourelene Snedeker

The Bodacious Bobcats Band:
Keyboards/Conductor: Caryl Fantel
Pedal Steel Guitar: Roger Rettig
Lead Guitar: Greg Minnick
Bass: Rupert Ziawinski
Fiddle Violin: Liuba Ohrimenco
Drums: Roy Fantel

Crew:
Director and Stage Manager: Dom Ruggiero
Stage Manager: Shelby Taylor Love
Scenic Design: Kyle Gosley and Kimberly Wick
Lighting Design: Thomas Shorrock Shorrock
Costume Design: Jim Buff
Sound Design: Justin Thompson
Wig Design: Douglas Lucas Lucas
Projection Design: Josieu T. Jean
Music Director: Caryl Fantel


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