Play tells story of country diva

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2006

If you missed it, it’s gone now. And unless you catch it in Bay Minette, you’ll never see it in Alabama again.

It is the Springer Theatricals production of “A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline,” and the group had its premiere performance in Demopolis last night.

“We are part of the Springer Opera House in Georgia. And this year’s production is ‘A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline.'” road manager Kevin Murray said. “This is our first date and we are on the road until the end of April. We are touring about 12 states.”

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Katie Deal was in Pennsylvania, playing the role of Patsy Cline in the same play, when she was offered the title character in the touring production.

“This is pretty much a musical review,” she said. “It’s basically all music with little snippets of scenes.”

Although there have been numerous on screen and on stage portrayals of the country star’s life, Deal said this play “tells her story well” and shows how Cline had an “interesting life.”

The production is set in 1963 and features Cline’s visits to radio stations, the recording studio, The Grand Ole Opry, The Mint Casino and Carnegie Hall. In the production, Cline also reminisces to her times in roadhouses and clubs.

“It’s a very touching production,” Deal said.

Divided in acts named after Cline classics such as “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and “I Fall to Pieces,” both Murray and Deal said the audience is guaranteed to enjoy a glimpse of Cline’s life.

“It’s hard [playing the role of a legend]. There’s a lot of pressure. But I’m flattered someone thought I was good enough to do it.”

“She’s a better Patsy Cline than Patsy Cline,” Murray said of Deal.

The Columbus-based group’s next stop is in Laurel, Miss. on Saturday. Then it’s off to Punta Gorda, Fla. for a Tuesday performance.