VOL. 26 - NO. 28
SEP 19 - 26, 2021
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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Woodminster Amphitheater’s “Always… Patsy Cline” Is Filled with Fun, Laughs, and Great Vocals!

Jul 14, 2021
by Jan Miller
‘Always, Patsy Cline’ is how the vocal legend would sign off on her letters to her pal Louise Seger over the years of their friendship. This production of the same name, currently performing at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland, CA., created and originally directed by Ted Swindley, and based on a true story, is basically presented as a love letter to Cline and her music, and is an ode to the friendship between the country music superstar and her most fervent fan.

“Always… Patsy Cline,” directed by Joel Schlader with music direction by Mark Dietrich, stars Margaret Belton as Patsy Cline and Julia Alane Eztel as Louise Seger. The two-scene show is fun-filled with great vocals, yet is light with a lot of laughs.

The show begins with the audience being introduced to Houstonite Louise Seger. Having first heard Patsy Cline on the “Arthur Godfrey Show” in 1957, Louise becomes an immediate and avid fan of hers – so much so that she calls the local radio station every day to request Patsy’s songs. And not only does she request that they be played once, but once every hour in the afternoons.

Eventually, Louise finds out that Patsy Cline is coming to town for a show. Well, of course Louise is not going to miss out on seeing Patsy Cline in person. She gathers her boss and boyfriend, and they arrive at the honky tonk an hour-and-a-half early to get a good spot at the show. Little does Louise know that not only will she see Patsy Cline perform, but will meet and end up spending the rest of the night pouring their hearts out to each other in Seger’s kitchen over a plate of bacon and eggs. As it turns out, they have a lot in common. They are working moms and both experienced divorce. Seger loves the sound of Cline’s voice, and recalls that the first time she heard it she was hearing the way she always wanted to sound. This was the beginning of them striking up a lasting friendship, eventually leading to them exchanging letters which Patsy would sign, ‘Always…Patsy Cline’.

The show has its share of humor, and is overall both charming and joyful. This 2 hour musical (with one intermission), features a live band and 27 songs such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Walking After Midnight”. Margaret Belton, who has a very convincing Patsy Cline voice, is well-backed up by The Jordanaires (Mark Dietrich, Mark Robinson, Jim Rupp and Kathleen Salvia), along with a talented group of musicians — David Phillips (the conductor) on steel guitar; Wakeford Gong on fiddle; Darryl Berk on guitar; R Hood on drums; Henry Salvis on piano; and Mark Petrella on bass. Together, they really bring the feel of a honky-tonk to life in an open-air amphitheater.

Don’t miss this show! Margaret Belton and Julia Alane Eztel, are both extremely talented and captivating, bringing the music and friendship of these two women alive.

“Always… Patsy Cline” plays July 16-18 and 23-25 at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland, CA. All performances are at 8 p.m. For tickets or more information please phone (510) 531-9597. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

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Photo caption: Margaret Belton (as Patsy Cline) is backed up by The Jordanaires in Producers Associates Inc.’s production of “Always… Patsy Cline” performing at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Oakland, CA. (Photo by Natalie Jane)


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