Raleigh Ensemble Players has just announced that its production Always ... Patsy Cline, which closed on Sunday, will be remounted at Cary Academy some time during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in January. The exact dates will be posted, and online ticket sales will begin on its Web site on Dec. 19.
Good thing. Canady Thomas' take on the legendary country singer is convincing, with a thousand-watt smile and a throaty voice that does justice to hits like "Walkin' After Midnight" and "Sweet Dreams." The musical theater piece—basically a premeditated concert excursion through most of Cline's greatest hits, with benefits—tells the tale of Cline's encounter with one Louise Seger, a right proud Texas girl who befriended the singer before a concert early in her career and who the singer stayed in touch with until her untimely death in 1963. Susannah Hough's mix of charm and no-nonsense made a believer of an audience that started off a mite cool on opening night last week at Raleigh's Theatre in the Park, which co-produced the one-weekend stand.
Maggie Rasnick's stage direction and Brett Wilson's musical direction keep this show motoring. The six-piece country swing band was tasty but still negotiating individual volume levels the night we were there, with various instruments dropping in and out of listenable range throughout the night. Ecki Heins' unamplified mandolin was rarely audible, while Wilson's own piano struggled at points to punch through the mix. Get those boys some mics, on the double!