- PHOTO COURTESY OF JILL TURNBOW
- CRAZY TIMES TWO : With more than 10 million albums sold in the last 50 years, Patsy Cline filled those masterpieces with songs of well, mostly heartbreak, that still seem as powerful today as they ever did. Her life culminated in an equally heartbreaking plane crash, but the story doesn’t end there and it’s no surprise Cline has made her way to the Central Coast. Houselights Theatre and Allied Arts present Always … Patsy Cline through June 21 at the Old Grammar School in Cambria. The show, written by Ted Swindley, features Amanda Baker as Patsy Cline. On her way up the country charts, Cline meets and befriends Louise, a wise-crackin’ Texas gal, and one of Patsy’s biggest fans. Their friendship is explored through Louise’s memories and the letters she shared with Patsy through her final years. The show is filled with all of Cline’s hits, backed by the “Bodacious Bobcats,” a 6-piece live band. Jill Turnbow plays Louise and Thom Waldman directs. Showtimes are Friday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at 1350 Main St. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Cambria Chamber of Commerce. Info and tickets: Houselightstheatre.org or 927-4667.
New Times You are directing Always … Patsy Cline, but what else have you worked on?
Thom Waldman I grew up in New York so I’ve done a lot of theater in New York and I lived in San Diego for 25 years and I did a lot of musical theater down there. I moved to the Central Coast about five years ago and last year I directed Pump Boys and Dinettes in Templeton at the Pioneer Players. I also performed in the last production at Houselights Theatre, and I’ve directed at SLO Little Theatre.
New Times Tell me why you wanted to be involved in this show, which I’m really excited about since I love Patsy Cline.
Waldman I love Patsy Cline too. I saw it a long time ago in San Diego and I knew Jill [Turnbow] was going to play the lead and I’ve worked with her before. She’s a great woman to work with and I was able to get Amanda Baker to play Patsy—so working with these two amazing women in a show about two amazing women, I couldn’t say no.
New Times Obviously we know who Patsy Cline is in this story, but who is Louise?
Waldman Louise is not a real person but a compilation of a few people Patsy had met when she was alive. Louise becomes a pen pal of Patsy, after she comes to her town to perform a concert. Louise sees her play live and a friendship is formed. Patsy actually had these types of relationships with these women. Louise reads letters and shares experiences with Patsy from the time that they met until Patsy’s death, in the plane crash. It’s amazing music: 23 Cline numbers in two hours.
New Times What is the time frame?
Waldman Early 1960s. There are times when Louise is in the present and talking to the audience and there are times when it’s her memories. It’s seamless how it goes back and forth between those times and places. There are two microphones and the stage is built out into the audience and so Patsy will be surrounded by the audience. But both of those microphones are just one mic. And there’s a live band.
New Times Tell me about Ted Swindley, the writer of this play.
Waldman He worked really hard with the Cline family so this is a good representation. It is very difficult to get rights to Patsy Cline music. Theater for me is storytelling and passing on to a new generation stories of who we are as a people. I like to say, theater really first occurred in the caves, when the cavemen came back from hunts and told the rest of the people what happened on the hunt. That was the first theater.
New Times How did you get involved in this production?
Amanda Baker I met Thom and he told me about Jill, and the production, and I love Patsy Cline, so I met Jill and she wanted me to play Patsy all along.
New Times How is the show going?
Baker Very well. It’s just me and Jill in the show, but it’s fun.
New Times Where do you draw inspiration from?
Baker My family is very musical, my grandparents were in a barbershop quartet. Then I took vocal lessons and went for it. I will move to L.A. in July to do some singing and some acting.
Christy Heron knows she’s crazy. Swap Willie Nelson lyrics at email@example.com.