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Firebrand Theatre to present Always… Patsy Cline
2019-10-17

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By Ted Swindley

Directed by Brigitte Ditmars. Musical Direction by Andra Velis Simon. November 16 — December 15, 2019 at The Den Theatre

CHICAGO ( October 16, 2019 ) — Firebrand Theatre is pleased to launch its 2019-20 season with a limited engagement of ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE, featuring Artistic Director Harmony France and Christina Hall, who have both previously played the titular music legend. France and Hall will alternate in the roles of Patsy Cline and Louise Seger — so if you love the show, come see it again with the cast flipped!

Written by Ted Swindley, with direction by Brigitte Ditmars and music direction by Andra Velis Simon, ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE will play November 16 — December 15, 2019 at The Den Theatre's Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. For tickets and a schedule of roles, visit firebrandtheatre.org . The press opening is Tuesday, November 19 at 7:30 pm.

Patsy Cline was an American country music singer and part of the Nashville sound during the late 1950s and early 1960s. She successfully "crossed over" to pop music and was one of the most influential, successful, and acclaimed vocalists of the 20th century.

ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE is based on the true story of Patsy's friendship with Houstonite Louise Seger. Having first heard Patsy on the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1957, Louise became an immediate and avid fan of Patsy's and she constantly hounded the local disc jockey to play Patsy's records on the radio. In 1961 when Patsy went to Houston for a show, Louise and her buddies arrived about an hour-and-a-half early and, by coincidence, met Patsy who was traveling alone. The two women struck up a friendship — a friendship that lasted the rest of Patsy Cline's life.

This moving musical, complete with laughs, down home country charm, and sisterhood, includes many of Patsy's unforgettable hits such as "Crazy," "I Fall to Pieces," "Sweet Dreams" and "Walking After Midnight"… 27 songs in all! The show's title was inspired by Patsy's letters to Louise, which were consistently signed "Love ALWAYS… Patsy Cline."

The prduction team includes Lauren Nichols ( scenic design ), Stephanie Taylor ( costume design ), Cat Wilson ( lighting design ), Giselle Castro ( sound design, sound engineer ), Rachelle R. Kolecke ( props design ), Lauren Griffith ( assistant director ), Richie Vavrina ( master electrician ), Jessica Baldinger ( assistant scenic designer ), Adrienne Miikelle Johnson ( assistant lighting designer ), Jon Martinez ( producer ), Lucy Walker ( associate producer ),Rose Hamill ( production manager ), Anika Jones ( assistant production manager ) and Jacqueline Widman ( stage manager ).

Firebrand is the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering womxn* by expanding opportunities on and off the stage. *womxn is used to include trans and non-binary folx.

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE

Writer: Ted Swindley

Director Brigitte Ditmars

Music Director: Andra Velis Simon

Cast: Harmony France and Christina Hall ( Patsy Cline and Louise Seger ).

Band: Andra Velis Simon ( conductor/keyboard ), Steven Romero Schaeffer( guitars ), Emma Sheikh ( fiddle ) and Tina Muñoz Pandya ( drums ).

Understudy: Liz Chidester.

Location: The Den Theatre's Janet Bookspan Theatre 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Dates: Previews: Saturday, November 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 17 at 3 pm

Press performance: Tuesday, November 19 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Thursday, November 21 — Sunday, December 15, 2019

Curtain Times: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, November 28 ( Thanksgiving Day ).

Tickets: Previews: $25 general admission, $35 VIP cabaret table. Regular run:$40 general admission, $50 VIP cabaret table. $30 Firebrand members. $20 students/industry rush tickets available at the box office. Tickets are currently available at firebrandtheatre.org .

About The Artistis

Christina Hall's ( Patsy Cline/Louise Seger ) recent credits include Gary Griffin's Into The Woods at Writers Theater and The Fly Honey Show X with the Inconvenience. Other Chicago credits include: Goodman Theatre ( Mary Zimmerman's Wonderful Town, Feathers and Teeth, New Stages Women Laughing Alone with Salad and Cressida on Top ); Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire ( Emma Goldman in Ragtime — 2018 Jeff Award Best Musical ); Paramount Theatre ( Ursula in The Little Mermaid ); Chicago Shakespeare Theater ( Peter Pan ); Mercury Theatre ( The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes ); The Inconvenience ( The Fly Honey Show IX, Woyzek in Sarajevo ). Milwaukee credits include Milwaukee Repertory Theatre ( Always.. Patsy Cline and Run Bambi Run Workshops ); Skylight Music Theatre ( Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd ). Voiceover credits include: Glucerna, CLR, Jacuzzi, Land O' Lakes and Chateau Saint Michelle. She is a TimeOut Chicago Performer of the Week and is proudly represented by Gray Talent Group.

Harmony France ( Patsy Cline/Louise Seger is a founder and the artistic director of Firebrand Theatre, Chicago's own feminist musical theatre company, where she has been the producer of Lizzie, 9 To 5, Caroline, Or Change, Queen of the Mist and now, Always… Patsy Cline. As an actor, Harmony has traveled the world with the Broadway National/International tour of Sister Act.She has been nominated for two Jeff Awards for Best actress and is the recipient of a BroadwayWorld Award for playing the title role in Violet at Bailiwick Chicago. Most recently she was the asst. director for David Cromer's acclaimed production of Next To Normal at Writers Theatre. Additionally, Harmony has worked with TimeLine Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Peninsula Players, Theatre at the Center, American Theater Company, Porchlight Music Theatre, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, Windy City Playhouse, The New Colony, Route 66, City Lit Theatre, and Timberlake Playhouse where she played Patsy in Always, Patsy Cline. She studied opera at Brenau University, acting at Columbia College, and Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 2019, she was honored by NewCity Stage as one of the "Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago" and has been featured in Crain's Chicago Business, Chicago Social and Playbill.

Brigitte Ditmars ( Director ) is a Chicago based director/choreographer with over 25 years of experience in professional and educational theatre. She is pleased to return to Firebrand having served as Associate Director/Choreographer for Caroline, or Change. Professional credits include work with Birmingham Children's Theatre, Timber Lake Playhouse, Porchlight Music Theatre, American Theater Company, Mercury Theatre, Theater Wit, Emerald City Children's Theatre, Fox Valley Repertory, Circle Theatre, Signal Ensemble Theatre, Hell in a Handbag Productions, Strawdog Theatre, Metropolis Center for the Performing Arts, The Factory Theater and Northwestern University. She has received two Joseph Jefferson Awards for Achievement in Choreography, as well as three additional nominations.

Andra Velis Simon ( Music Director ) is the Resident Music Director for Firebrand, where she has music directed Caroline, or Change, 9 to 5 The Musical, and Firebrand's inaugural production of Lizzie. Andra has worked regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Berkeley Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYU's Skirball Center, Olney Theatre Center in Maryland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, and others. In Chicago, her work has been seen at Steppenwolf, Goodman, Chicago Children's Theatre, Theater Wit, The Hypocrites, and dozens of others. Most recently, she music directed Next to Normal at Writers Theatre and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murderat Porchlight Music Theatre. Andra is also adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where she has taught musical theatre performance since 2008.

Firebrand Theatre's 2019-20 season sponsor: Michael and Mona Heath of the HeathFund.

Firebrand Theatre the world's first equity musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering womxn* on and off the stage. Based in the vibrant city of Chicago, Firebrand Theatre's productions will expand the traditional roles of womxn in musical theatre by reimagining classics, producing unknown gems and commissioning new works. *womxn is used to include trans and non-binary folx. Firebrand is a 501( c )( 3 ) Equity theatre.

Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France, Associate Artistic Director: Jon Martinez, Grants and Fundraising: Danni Smith, Social Media Director: Amanda Horvath-Adair, Casting Director: Adelina Feldman-Schultz; Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Brenda Didier, Emjoy Gavino, Amber Mak, Company Members: Becca Brown, Giselle Castro, Sydney Charles, Liz Chidester, Eric Martin, Natalie O'hea, Amelia Jo Parish, Tyler Symone, Andra Velis Simon and JC Widman.

—From a press release


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