By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
The flaw in Swindley's script for Always...Patsy Cline, which was vetted and licensed by the Cline estate and family members, is that it doesn't go anywhere near the darker, more interesting moments of the star's life. Cline had an abusive upbringing and a raucous romantic history, falling into a series of affairs with older men starting when she was a teen-ager. She met and fell in love with her last husband, Charlie Dick, while still married to Gerald Cline. Married to Dick, she took up with a manager who talked her into signing away most of the profitable royalty rights to her hit songs, a deal that left her owing him money. As chronicled in Honky Tonk Angel, the 1993 Cline biography by Ellis Nassour, the singer had a volatile temper and suffered at least one nervous breakdown. She also survived two serious car accidents. She had only one major hit before she died in '63 because half the songs she'd recorded hadn't yet been released as singles.
All that would make good drama that's not to be found in Always...Patsy Cline, a show that reveals too little about a star who died too soon. WaterTower Theatre was lucky to land a talent like Jenny Thurman for the lead. Her artistry elevates the show above its concept. Through her voice we celebrate all those grand old tunes that have long outlived their original singer.
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