Ever wonder whatever happened to Honky Tonk Angel, that other musical about country singer Patsy Cline that was looking for a Broadway or Off-Broadway perch back in 1999? Well, that show didn't reach New York — Always...Patsy Cline snuck in first — but the creators have continued working on it, and the result will be on view starting April 4 at Off-Broadway's Bank Street Theatre. Revised and re titled, Falling to Pieces: The Patsy Cline Musical, the tuner will officially open April 6 and tell of the short but busy life of country music's first cross-over singer.
Penned by Playbill magazine writer Ellis Nassour based on his own book bio of Cline, Pieces covers the last seven years in Cline's life. Nassour wrote the book and original lyrics to Falling to Pieces, while George Leonard composed the original music. The show also utilizes many of Cline's signature songs, including "I Fall to Pieces," "Faded Love" and "Crazy."
Pieces is the second musical from Nassour about the late country star. He also wrote the biography on which Always...Patsy Cline was based. That national hit played New York's Variety Arts Theatre in 1997.
The Bank Street staging, produced by the Peccadillo Theatre Company (All God's Chillun, Jigsaw), will be directed by Peccadillo artistic director Dan Wackerman and feature choreography by Robert LaFosse. Designing the show are Linda Ross (costumes) and Michael Allen (set), with Jeffrey Biering serving as musical director and Kevin Kennedy as managing producer.
The Bank Street staging is being viewed as a workshop for further commercial development of the piece, which, according to Nassour, already has interest from venues in Toronto and Baltimore. Nassour told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 5) that Falling is essentially Honky Tonk Angel "retitled, reshaped, rethought, shortened, and made more fantastic than ever." Some characters have been jettisoned or condensed, with the role of Minnie Pearl growing more important in this version. For tickets ($19) and information on Falling to Pieces at the Bank Street Theatre call (212) 279-4200 or check out the website www.patsyclinehta.com. The show is skedded to run through April 28 but may add a couple of extra evenings beyond that.
— By David Lefkowitz