Always…Patsy Cline, starring Sally Struthers and Carter Calvert, is an entertaining show for everyone, and is playing at the historic El Portal Theatre from July 10th to August 3rd. It’s about an unexpected friendship, and the unforgettable songs of music legend Patsy Cline make it extra special. Classics such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” and “Walking After Midnight” are featured, among more than two dozen timeless tunes that are woven into an endearing true story about Cline’s friendship and correspondence with a devoted fan.
It goes beyond being a tribute show to Cline, one of the most influential singers in country and popular music, who tragically died in 1963 in a plane crash at age 30. It is a show that follows a genuine friendship between a superstar and a Houston housewife who invited Cline over for bacon and eggs. The two women shared their thoughts and common concerns. They kept an ongoing correspondence, and the singer would sign her letters “Always…Patsy Cline.”
Critics have raved about Sally Struthers’ performance as the ardent fan Louise Seger ever since Struthers first stepped into the role. Struthers has toured the country for about fourteen years opposite various co-stars. At the El Portal, singer Carter Calvert plays Patsy and does justice to the legend with her extraordinary voice.
Struthers is also an accomplished director and she will be at the helm of this production, as she has at various venues. It’s a job she enjoys very much. She says, “With directing you get to be involved in the whole package, choose the props, say what kind of lighting you want. You get to paint the whole picture for the enjoyment of the audience.”
Of course, Struthers is best known for her role in the classic, ground-breaking sitcom All in the Family, as Archie Bunker’s rebellious little girl Gloria, for which she won two Emmy awards. Now she is taking her considerable comedic talents to new heights in Always…Patsy Cline, but Sally modestly says, “We often get standing ovations because Carter Calvert is brilliant and I’m all over the place like a Tasmanian devil. I think they applaud my energy more than anything else. I’m sure they say, ‘Look at that woman she’s in her 60s and she’s jumping up and down like a cheerleader.’ I think I get applause for my boundless energy, and for making them laugh.”
The story is told through Louise’s eyes, and Struthers is on stage constantly as the narrator, and she also does the voices of other characters in her life. Sally explains the appeal of the show as “the relationship of the two girlfriends, which began as a fan meeting an idol, but evolved into mutual respect. We see how this extraordinary singer was also a regular person, just like Louise, and that’s why it’s not strange that they would become friends and stay in contact. Because whether you are Patsy Cline, Sally Struthers, or Oprah Winfrey, at the end of the day you put on your shoes and socks like everybody else.”
The show has laughs, tears, and great music. Sally says, “My hope is that people drive home talking about the show and say ‘that ticket was worth every penny. I was thoroughly entertained for over two hours. It was so good I wanted more.’”
Always…Patsy Cline at the El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, July 10th to August 3rd. For tickets and information, go to www.elportaltheatre.com, or call 818-508-4200.