Capsule Reviews

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline Nobody can sing Patsy Cline the way Jenny Thurman can, and she gets to do it again in this two-hour musical tribute. All the hit songs are here: "Crazy," "Walkin' after Midnight," "Leavin' on Your Mind," "Back in Baby's Arms." It's like a living jukebox of country music nostalgia. Dean Regan's script isn't much, just a loosely structured bio recounting the highlights of Cline's career (she died in a plane crash in 1963, still at the top of the pop and country charts). So it leaves plenty of room for the tunes. Chamblee Ferguson plays a radio show host reading the singer's biography to listeners between records. He also cameos as a hillbilly comic on the Grand Ole Opry and as a Vegas wisecracker who was Cline's opening act. Jeff Kinman, Tony Martin, Jimmy Nelson and Sara Shelby-Martin are the back-up singers who kill time between Cline songs, crooning old radio ads for Ajax ("The foaming cleanser!") and Mr. Clean. Thurman, who also sang the lead in Always...Patsy Cline and did some Cline tunes in WaterTower's Rockin' Christmas Party, has perfected her impersonation of the star's familiar vocal style. She can caress the notes or belt em to the rafters. But whether you're a Cline fan or not, you'll be a dedicated Thurman fan after seeing this production. Now if only someone would let Thurman sing for herself, instead of as Patsy Cline, we could see what this talented woman could really do. Through December 31 at WaterTower Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison, 972-450-6232. Reviewed December 16. (Elaine Liner)

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown The Peanuts gang seems poised for a pop culture comeback, and this lighthearted production of the old musical (reworked for a Broadway revival in 1999) is reason enough to get re-acquainted with Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally, Schroeder and everybody's fave black-nosed beagle, Snoopy. The characters sing and dance and crack G-rated jokes in two hours of gentle, whimsical vignettes adapted by Clark Gesner and Michael Mayer from Charles M. Schulz's comic strips. Directed by Terry Dobson, with sprightly choreography by Michael Serrecchia, the cast in Theatre Three's production makes the audience forget they're really watching grown-up actors. Megan Kelly as Lucy and Arianna Movassagh as Sally are especially good at throwing themselves into their kiddie roles with playground-sized energy and wide-eyed wonder. Ric Leal makes a snappy Snoopy, fighting the Red Baron from atop his oversized doghouse and dancing with puppylike glee as he waits for dog chow in the act 2 showstopper, "Suppertime." Through January 15 at Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Suite 168 in The Quadrangle, 214-871-3300. Reviewed December 16. (E.L.)

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