Who says one town ain't big enuf for two Patsy Cline musicals? Just because Always...Patsy Cline is concluding its run at Off-Broadway's Variety Arts Theatre Dec. 7 doesn't mean another entertainment about the great, short-lived country singer can't find a way to local stages. It's Honky Tonk Angel, and it will receive an Equity staging, June 1998, at an undisclosed, 550-seat theatre in New Jersey. Sally Sears and Jeff Britton are coordinating producers.
As she did in a Sept. 30 reading at a midtown Manhattan theatre, Sally Mayes will star as Patsy, with Randy Skinner (who co-staged Broadway's State Fair) likely to direct. Mayes starred in Welcome To The Club and She Loves Me. At the NYC reading, her co-stars in Angel included Susan Mansur (Ruthless!), Bryan D'Arcy James (Titanic, Floyd Collins), Tina Johnson, Don Stephenson, Kerry O'Malley, Sean McCourt and Emily Loesser (Swingtime Canteen).
Ellis Nassour (a writer for Playbill magazine) wrote the libretto for Honky Tonk Angel and co-wrote, with George Leonard, its original songs. Both Honky Tonk Angel and Always...Patsy Cline feature songs Cline made famous, such as "I Fall To Pieces" and "Crazy."
A Playbill On-Line reader wrote in to point out that there's a third Patsy Cline musical. It's A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline by Dean Regan, which played at North Star Theatre in Mandeville, LA.
-- By David Lefkowitz