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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Back in Baby's Arms: Always.....Patsy Cline Adds Shows at Altarena Playhouse

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge patsyclinewebbanner-850x315.jpg

Virginia Patterson Hensley (1932-1963) became internationally famous and beloved as Patsy Cline. Blessed with a rich and emotionally expressive voice, Cline continues to sell records today, more than fifty years after she died in a plane crash at age 30. In 1973, she was the first woman inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her powerful vocal range transcended the country genre — Cline was ranked No. 46 in the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time issue of Rolling Stone

Cline has also become something of a gay icon.

"For a gay favorite, Patsy has all the requisite elements," explained Clay David, Artistic Director of Altarena Playhouse in Alameda. "A tragic, early death, a portfolio of dark and poignant songs, and an allegedly miserable personal life." David noted that Cline is often listed as a gay icon next to Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna and Liza Minnelli. 

David said that Pride was celebrated year round at Altarena Playhouse, and that the first Saturday of each production was Pride Night.

"We melt seamlessly into the fabric of the community and proudly shine our light of unconditional love and support," he said. "We are proud to illuminate our light  as it will give others permission to do so."          

David is thrilled that the musical Always...Patsy Cline, will be making a return engagement to Altarena Playhouse from Nov. 27 through Dec. 20. 

"She was truly one of a kind," said Margaret Belton, who stars as Cline. "Patsy's music is more than just country. She sang rock and roll, pop, western swing, classic ballads, jazz, blues, and more. I love any musician that does just what they want without feeling confined by the music industry."

Belton spoke of Cline's  intense emotional range. "Her velvety voice and the meaning behind it just transports listeners," Belton said. "She was a bold and brave woman, mother, daughter, wife, friend and musician who aimed high and lived very intentionally."

Belton, who sings lead for her band The Patsychords, starred in Altarena's previous production of Always....Patsy Cline, and has also performed in a New Orleans production of the show. She's a lifelong fan of Cline, and recalls hearing her idol's voice for the first time.

"I was just in love with that voice," she said. "It just made sense to me — like I had been waiting for it till that very moment." 

Belton also shared her battles with stage fright. "I recently learned that life is too precious to hide our deepest passions no matter how scary they seem," she said. "I learned that the reason things are so scary is because they mean a lot to us. To let them out and to be that vulnerable with something that you've kept so close and precious to you all your life is an amazing and scary thing to do. It's OK to be scared and it's a wonderful feeling to overcome fears — its the most special thing to share your gifts with the world. "

Belton described going from listening to Cline to performing as her as "magical".    

Always...Patsy Cline, through Dec. 20, at Altarena Playhouse, 1409 High, Alameda, 510-523-1553 or

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