Q&A : :  “Always . . Patsy Cline”

INTERVIEW:  Katie Connor performing as Patsy Cline  ~  and  ~ Gail Phaneuf, performing as Louise, Executive and Artistic Director, Deertrees Theatre

Katie Connor as Patsy (L) and Gail Phaneuf as Louise (C) perform in “Always . . Patsy Cline”, courtesy image

McGRATHPR.com – Q:  What facets of your background brought your interest to pursue producing/performing in “Always . . . Patsy Cline” at Deertrees Theatre?

Katie Connor performing in “Always .. Patsy Cline”, courtesy image

K:  I have always loved Patsy’s voice and music and was thrilled when Gail asked me if I was interested in doing the show.

G:  It’s a show about a fast-developing friendship, which is very compelling and is paralleled in my in my first acquaintance with Katie.  She and I met and became fast friends during the pandemic.  By giving her this opportunity, I have enjoy extending our friendship in the role of her friend Louise onstage. It is a very genuine experience when Louise falls in love with Patsy’s voice.

Q:  Are there elements of Patsy’s personality, stage presence or style that drew/connect you to this character/show?

K:  I like that she was so down to earth. The fact that she became fast friends with a fan and went back to her house to enjoy bacon and eggs together is an example of Patsy’s down to earth and “normal” personality.

G:  Patsy rose in fame during a time when women were mostly dismissed in the music world.  She had to aspire to greatness so much on her own.  She had a tough marriage and focused on making a living for her family.  Patsy was a very down to earth star.

Q:  Patsy Cline is universally known for her vocal style.  How does your vocal interpretation fit in with that in this show?

K:  Patsy’s singing style and range falls very much in my comfort zone and I find it very easy to emulate her on stage.

Katie Connor as Patsy (L) and Gail Phaneuf as Louise (C)
perform in “Always . . . Patsy Cline”, courtesy image

G:  Katie’s voice has an amazing quality – it’s low and sultry for a woman – but she also has an upper range that’s equally beautiful.  Patsy’s singing utilized unique phrasing and Katie has the ability to make those special adjustments that really surface Patsy’s unique sound.

Q:  What would you tell audience members to most expect by attending this performance?

K:  They’ll enjoy a great story about friendship with the added bonus of a walk down memory lane of so many classic, wonderful songs!

G:  I think people are surprised that this is a true story about a friendship between Patsy and Louise.  It’s basically a book musical.  Many people think the show is just a concert of her music – but it’s much more when you add the personal stories and letters from Patsy’s early years – a real treasure!

Q:  What made you want to reprise this show/role at Deertrees Theatre?

K:  We had so much fun last year, and the audience response was so overwhelmingly positive. We are very excited to perform it again this season – it’s the perfect venue for this show!

G:  It all happened so fast last season – with the pandemic reopening of Deertrees after it being dark for a year.  I felt like the show was just getting its legs, and the show ended!  So many patrons shared that they were not able to attend in September – so we decided to reprise the show earlier in the season.  This time we will enjoy it even more and show our audience why there are such great word-of-mouth reviews.

Katie Connor performing in “Always .. Patsy Cline”,
courtesy image

Q:  Having already produced/performed this show, what did you learn from Patsy’s life that you carry with you today?

K:  I think that life is so short and this show teaches us not to wait to do the things you want in life. Patsy’s career was cut short when she died suddenly at age 30, but she still lives on as a legend. One of the lines from the show that sticks with me is “I don’t want to get rich. I just want to live good.”

G:  Music is crucial to our lives, and the time we have to hear it is a gift.  The overwhelming reaction by audiences hearing these songs again is very powerful.  People stopped to speak with us after the show with tears in their eyes, sharing that the music stirred both their most sentimental memories and hearts.  We look forward to making those memories continue this season!

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Back for a second season by popular demand, “Always…Patsy Cline” is a musical based on the true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in l961 and continued a friendship with Cline until her death.  The show is a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963.  The musical, complete with down home country humor, includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy”, “I Fall to Pieces”, “Sweet Dreams” and “Walking After Midnight”, 27 songs in all – in one of the most produced musicals in America.  Sponsored by Pamela Sessions at Barefoot Realty. 

“Always . . . Patsy Cline” is produced at Deertrees Theatre on Friday and Saturday, June 24 and 25, 7:30 pm, tickets are $32.  For tickets or more information, visit deertrees-theatre.org, email gail@deertrees.org, call 207-583-6747 or follow Deertrees Theatre on Facebook and Instagram. Ticket prices include a $2 Heritage Fee that supports the ongoing restoration and improvements of Deertrees Theatre.