I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of bad news and politics. Fortunately, I have found the perfect antidote.
Just a half-hour drive from metro Richmond, The Lee Playhouse is presenting Dean Regan’s musical A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline.
A Closer Walk is the antithesis of bad news and politics.
This show has heart and soul. It made me laugh. It made me cry happy tears. It gave me chills. And for two hours I could shrug off the world’s problems and experience the magic of theatre.
A Closer Walk was almost a religious experience for me. If I didn’t know better, hearing Shannon Gibson Brown embody the country music sensation just about convinced me of the existence of reincarnation.
Gibson Brown was simply stunning.
And her backup singers, The Jordanaires (Adam Smith, Travis West, Graham Burbanck, Evan Nunery) were marvelous. Their rendition of the beloved gospel tune “I’ll Fly Away” gave me goosebumps.
Just a Closer Walk tells the story of Virginia Patterson Hensley’s journey from child star in her hometown of Winchester, VA, to her transformation into the inimitable Patsy Cline who takes the country music world by storm and captures the hearts of Americans.
The story is narrated by Little Big Man (Michael McClain) as a small-town radio DJ as he takes his listeners on a nostalgic tour of Ms. Cline’s unforgettable music. The script is simple and charming, and serves as a fine vehicle for introducing each song.
The live orchestra is uniformly exceptional with a knockout performance on the fiddle (Chris Johnston).
Director Frank Foster came out from behind his set design wall to direct his first show in twenty years with this production and now we hope he’ll come out more. Foster’s direction was first class. Storm Burks’ musical direction was pitch-perfect.
I could go on and on . . . the hair, the wigs, the makeup, the costumes…all stellar.
But the real star of the show was Gibson Brown who couldn’t hit a wrong note if she tried. From the titular “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” to “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy,” fans of the country music sensation experienced a strange and delightful deja vu, and newcomers got an appreciation for an artist beyond compare.
Just a Closer Walk With Patsy Cline continues at The Theater Company at Ft. Lee from September 16, 17, 23 & 24 at 8 p.m. and September 18 & 25 at 2 p.m. Call (804) 734-6629 to reserve seats now.
Julie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is working on her first novel - Two Tickets to Freedom - a semi-autobiographical queer coming-of-age tale.
A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
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