Savannah Theatre brings Patsy Cline to life

Misty Rowe and Cindy Summers in ‘Always Patsy Cline.’

The Savannah Theatre is now playing “Always Patsy Cline,” a dramatic musical experience certain to thrill fans of the iconic singer. 

Based on the true story of Patsy Cline’s friendship with Louise Seger, a fan who continued a correspondence with her to the end of her life, the Savannah Theatre’s live performance is more than a tribute to the beloved country singer and shows Cline and Seger’s friendship develop over years of correspondence up until Cline’s untimely death. 

Throughout the show Seger takes the audience on a journey through her memories with the letters they sent to each other accompanied by 27 of Cline’s greatest hits recreated by a live country band.

Directing the show is well-known actress and Bluffton area resident, Misty Rowe, who is known for playing the perky, squeaky-voiced blonde on the TV series “Hee Haw” for 19 years and Wendy the carhop on “Happy Days.” 

In addition to directing, she will be playing the role of Seger. 

“I’ve been directing the show for 20 years and playing the part of Louise for 24,” Rowe said. “Once ‘Hee Haw’ wrapped up, I was invited to audition for the part of Louise and I did that for four years before being invited to direct the show.”

Rowe says Ted Swindley, the creator of “Always Patsy Cline,” mentored her on how to direct it and she’s very proud of the level of authenticity she feels she is able to bring.

“Ted taught me everything, from the feelings to recreating the Grand Ole Opry,” she said. “Hee Haws TV studio was once behind the Grand Ole Opry and we shared the same dressing room, the same green room, the same hallways.”

In addition to working with the creator of the show, Rowe added that she knew the real Louise and also has experience working with one of Patsy Cline’s past musicians.

“A lot of people don’t know this but ‘Hee Haw’ had a band and my drummer on the show, Willie Ackermen, was Patsy Cline’s drummer on the recording of ‘Crazy.’” she said. “And I did in fact know the real Louise. She saw me perform in ‘Always Patsy Cline’ before she passed and she actually wrote me letters, the same way she did with Patsy.”

Playing the role of Patsy Cline is Cindy Summers, who has performed the role in a nationwide tour.

“I’ve worked with 10 different Patsy singers and they’ve all been wonderful,” Rowe said. “But, Cindy Summers I have performed with the most. She’s toured the nation with the production and we’ve performed it many times from the Tropicana in Atlantic City to the Pacific Light Opera. Every couple of years we get together and we still do it even though we work with other people from time to time. I think the Savannah audience deserves to have a singer that I love and I’ve worked with for so long.”

Rowe added that she will also be helping lead the band.

“I’m working with musical director Bobby Hamilton who I absolutely love,” she said. “He’s an incredible piano player and an incredible music director. And I’m going to be leading the band at one point! This is a great show filled with music, comedy, dancing, and all sorts of shenanigans! It’s a show that Savannah does not want to miss!”

“Always Patsy Cline” is running at the Savannah Theatre through Sun., Nov 21. For showtimes and to purchase tickets visit savannahtheatre.com/shows/always-patsy-cline

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