Showing posts with label ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE. Show all posts

Friday, December 6, 2019

REVIEW: Firebrand Theatre’s Always... Patsy Cline Now Extended Through January 4, 2020

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
Three Added Weeks of Performances!
Firebrand Theatre’s
Extends Through January 4, 2020 at The Den Theatre

Christina Hall in Firebrand Theatre’s production of ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE. 
All Photos by Michael Brosilow.

Featuring Harmony France and Christina Hall 
in Alternating Roles

Due to popular demand, Firebrand Theatre’s hit revival of ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE will add three additional weeks of performances, extending through Saturday, January 4, 2020 at The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.

(left to right) Christina Hall and Harmony France

Trading Off In The Lead Roles: 
Harmony France as Patsy Cline & Christina Hall as Louise Seger

by bonnie kenaz-mara

Firebrand Theatre’s Always Patsy Cline is so enjoyable, I just bought 3 tickets as birthday gifts and I'm sending my in laws and husband to catch it this weekend. For the press opening, I caught Christina Hall as iconic country crossover star, Patsy Cline. Her impressive vocals and embodiment of Cline were spot on. 

(pictured) Christina Hall 

I also adored Firebrand's Artistic Director, Harmony France as feisty, fangirl Louise. She's a hoot! Both powerhouse vocalists have played Patsy Cline in past productions, so either cast configuration is a win/win and I love that Firebrand has cast the show this way. It's a rare treat to see a production where the leads trade off in a 50/50 split, and it's exciting to see how it changes up the show having different actors in each role. I'm seriously considering coming back again to see the roles swapped. 

(left to right) Harmony France and Christina Hall 

Always Patsy Cline is a delightful time capsule of true friendship, the travails of touring as a young mother, southern hospitality, old school correspondence and the power of music to draw people together and get them through tough times. Don't miss this celebration of simpler times and a talent taken too soon.

(pictured) Christina Hall 

From blackbox to barn, The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre has been transformed into a homey little venue, complete with cabaret tables and southern charm. The band is dressed for line dancing and prominently featured on stage, where they are fun to watch as they play and interact with Patsy and Louise. 

(left to right) Harmony France and Christina Hall 

(left to right) Harmony France and Christina Hall 

Whether these two are breaking out a flask or spilling the tea about exes, kids and life, Firebrand's rendition of this true life friendship is heartfelt, funny and sustaining. Expect to enjoy 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.”

Harmony France and Christina Hall

Firebrand Theatre’s Always... Patsy Cline is a fabulous find for holiday gifting or entertaining visiting friends and family. Experiential gifts are the ultimate clutter busting choice and great for someone who has everything. So make some memories. Always... Patsy Cline is highly recommended. 

Bonnie Kenaz-Mara is a Chicago based writer-theater critic-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and Mama to two terrific teens. She owns two websites where she has published frequently since 2008: (adult) & (family friendly).

Firebrand Theatre’s
Extends Through January 4, 2020 at The Den Theatre

Harmony France as Patsy Cline

Harmony France as Patsy Cline & Christina Hall as Louise Seger

Written by Ted Swindley, with direction by Brigitte Ditmars and music direction by Andra Velis Simon, ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE, features Artistic Director Harmony France and Christina Hall, who have both previously played the titular music legend. France and Hall alternate in the roles of Patsy Cline and Louise Seger – so if you love the show, come see it again with the cast flipped! For tickets and a schedule of roles, visit

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.

Harmony France as Patsy Cline & Christina Hall as Louise Seger

The production team includes Lauren Nichols (scenic design), Steph Taylor (costume design), Cat Wilson (lighting design), Giselle Castro (sound design, sound engineer), Rachelle “Rocky” Kolecke (props design, scenic decoration), Keith Ryan (wig 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), Jacqueline Widman (stage manager) and Claire Haussner (assistant 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.

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).

Understudies: Gabby Diaz (Louise) and Liz Chidester (Patsy).

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

Regular run: Thursday, November 21 – Saturday, January 4, 2020
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, December 26.

Tickets: $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

About The Artists
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.

Google Analytics