Two February New York readings of Honky Tonk Angel, a new musical about country singer Patsy Cline, apparently went well enough for producers to consider a major Manhattan production this-coming November. Librettist Ellis Nassour told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 11) the show was targeting either a large Off-Broadway house or a mid-sized Broadway venue.
Cline is played by Sally Mayes, who also starred as Patsy in a Sept. 30, 1997, reading of the musical. She's previously acted in Welcome To The Club and She Loves Me on Broadway, and Closer Than Ever Off-Broadway. Also participating in Feb. 8 & 9 readings were Kelli Barclay, Mimi Besette, Annie Chadwick, Steve Cole, Jason Edwards, Julie Foldesi, Susan Haefner, Marc Kessler, Brian Keith Lewis, Laura Schutter, Andy Sich, Randy Skinner, Dorothy Stanley, Brian Sutherland and Jessica Wright. Bruce Lumpkin directed, with Randy Skinner providing the choreography.
Angel is the second musical from writer Ellis 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.
Honky Tonk covers the last eight years in Cline's life. Nassour wrote the book and original lyrics to Honky Tonk, while George Leonard composed the original music. The show also utilizes many of Cline's signature songs, including "I Fall to Pieces" and "Crazy."
A previously announced pre-Broadway premiere of Honky Tonk Angel in early 1999 at the Forum Theatre in Metuchen, NJ, has been canceled. Jeff Britton serves as coordinating producer of the New York-bound project. -- By Robert Simonson and David Lefkowitz