‘Always…Patsy Cline’ returns to the Ryman with original cast

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This month, the popular bio-musical “Always…Patsy Cline,” returns to the Ryman Auditorium and to the stage where the actual country music legend first rose to fame. The musical opens on the 15th and is slated for a six-week engagement through May 23.

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Mandy Barnett will reprise her critically acclaimed turn as Patsy Cline, and theatre veteran Tere Myers will return in the role of Patsy’s devoted fan, Louise Seger. “Always…Patsy Cline” creator and original director, Ted Swindley, will helm the production.

Cline and Seger met in 1961 before a show Cline was giving in Houston, Texas. “Always…Patsy Cline” is based on the true story of the friendship that developed between them. The two women corresponded until Patsy’s death at age 30 in an airplane crash on March 5, 1963. The show takes its name from Patsy’s signature on her letters to Louise. She signed each one the same way: “Always…Patsy Cline.”

The production features more than 20 of Patsy’s most memorable songs including “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and “Sweet Dreams,” which became a hit shortly after her death. Barnett, who originated the role at the Ryman in 1994, has received rave reviews throughout the years for her uncanny recreations of Cline’s unique and unforgettable sound. Of Barnett’s performance The Tennessean declared, “If you closed your eyes, Patsy Cline was there is the room with you.”

Patsy Cline and the Ryman Auditorium share a rich history. Cline made her Grand Ole Opry debut on the stage of the Ryman on July 1, 1955, becoming an Opry member there in 1960. After performing “Crazy” for the first time on the Opry in 1961, she received three standing ovations. In 1985, scenes from “Sweet Dreams,” the hit movie based on Cline’s life and starring Academy award-winning actress Jessica Lange, were filmed at the Ryman.

Patsy Cline’s fans continue to feel a powerful connection with her through her timeless music and remarkable story. Three such fans, Theresa Shalaby, Bill Cox and Mark Willix have assembled a collection of artifacts and memorabilia that will comprise a new Patsy Cline exhibit at the Ryman. The exhibit opens with “Always…Patsy Cline” and will be on display through the end of May as part of the Ryman Daytime Tour and for those attending the play.

Tickets are $36.50 and $29.50 and are available at www.ryman.com or by calling 615-871-OPRY. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays.