“Always…Patsy Cline” opens at Columbia’s Town Theatre on Thursday night. But it’s not really a new show coming to town. It’s more of a homecoming.
Town Theatre premiered this production in August 2000 as a fundraiser for the Columbia Stage Society. It is based on the true story of a Houston woman’s encounter with the country music legend.
With sold-out shows and audience members traveling from all corners of the state, the theatre was invited to tour the production throughout South Carolina. Over the past 15 years, the cast of two (along with musicians) has traveled to the Newberry Opera House, the Bishopville Opera House and community theaters in Charleston, Dillon and Greenwood. It has also returned to Town Theatre a few times, most recently in 2010-11, and is the most-requested show on theater surveys, said Sandra Willis, Town Theatre’s executive director.
There have been more invitations, but timing and distance has prevented the show from accepting every one, said Willis, who has been working with the production since its 2000 debut.
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“There are so many people who are fans of Patsy Cline and her music, even people who have never had a chance to see her,” Willis said.
Throughout the 15-year run, the same two actresses have remained with the show. Shannon Willis Scruggs plays Patsy Cline and Kathy Hartzog plays Louise Seger, a divorced housewife from Houston. The play is based on the true story of Seger’s encounter with Cline in a honky-tonk in 1961, and their ensuing correspondence until Cline’s death in a 1963 airplane crash.
Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. Sundays through January 18. Tickets are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors, college students and military; and $15 for youth ages 17 and under. Call the Town Theatre Box Office at 803-799-2510 to purchase tickets.
Bridget Winston, Special to The State