Alison MacDonald plays female country singer Patsy Cline in A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, a musical on at Teechamitsa Theatre Oct. 20 and 21. (Jessie Greenfield photo)

Country returns to Teechamitsa Theatre

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline hits the stage this month

Whenever a song by influential country singer Patsy Cline comes on, Melissa Young is transported back in time.

As a child, she remembers pulling out her grandparents’ records and using a wooden spoon as a microphone to belt out some of Cline’s country-pop hits.

“When I listen to her [Patsy] sing it brings back those memories. I think that Patsy was revolutionary. She was such a strong woman who worked so hard to achieve this dream of being a singer. She really paved the way for so many female artists,” said Young, who runs the theatre program at Royal Bay Secondary school.

“Her music speaks to a lot of people. I think people have memories and strong associations, like I do, with her music.”

Young is bringing her love of the influential country singer to the West Shore this month as the director of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.

The highly-acclaimed musical chronicles Cline’s rise to stardom, from her hometown in Virginia to Carnegie Hall in New York, and features some of her greatest hits, including I Fall to Pieces, Walking After Midnight and Crazy. Cline died when she was 30 years old in a multiple-fatality plane crash.

The production, presented by Little Bowes’ Street Collective, stars Alison MacDonald as Patsy and Leon Willey as a radio station worker who pays tribute to the singer, as well as musical direction from Alana Johnson. It has been performed in a number of theatres around the province and Ontario.

MacDonald was drawn to Cline’s music and has fallen in love with her in the past year-and-half that she’s been portraying her.

“She’s a really ballsy woman. She was a woman in the 1950s, 1960s making it in a man’s world and she got super far. She’s got a real backbone and integrity,” she said of Cline, adding you don’t have to be a fan of country to enjoy the musical.

“I hope the audience takes away a bit of knowledge about Patsy and what she did in her life, how she started from nothing and her career took off all on her own, and an appreciation for the music.”

In addition to the performance, MacDonald and Willey will be doing guest workshops with some of Young’s students to give them a sense of professional theatre.

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline runs Oct. 20 and 21 at the Teechamitsa Theatre (3500 Ryder Hesjedal Way), beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $17 for students.

The musical will also make its way to the Canadian Collage of Performing Arts (1701 Elgin Rd.) in Victoria for performances on Oct. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 and 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $21 for students.

For tickets, visit ticketrocket.ca or call 1-855-842-7575.

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kendra.wong@goldstream gazette.com