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Beaver Dam musical opens Wednesday

January 22, 2019
Upon learning of Patsy Cline's untimely death in a plane crash in 1963, Louise Seger (portrayed by Trina Justman-Reichert) rereads a letter she received from Cline. The friendship between the two women is visited in BDACT's production of "Always ... Patsy Cline," which begins this week.

The remarkable relationship between a fan and a music star takes center stage this week at Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre’s Fine Arts Center.

“Always … Patsy Cline” is based on the true story of Patsy Cline’s friendship with Houston housewife Louise Seger. Loaded with almost 30 unforgettable hits — including “I Fall to Pieces,” “Walkin’ after Midnight,” “Crazy” and “She’s Got You” — the show celebrates the songs and life of the country music legend.

Directed by Ryan Madala-Klug, the musical is the first theatrical production to be featured in BDACT’s Fine Arts Center. It tells the poignant story of two extraordinary women, how they met and became lasting friends. Theater veterans Jennifer Feucht (Cline) and Trina Justman-Reichert (Seger) play the leading roles.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to showcase two fantastic women in this brand new center and to be chosen as the first director,” Madala-Klug said. “I have a lot of theater company friends that have done this show and they had to add weekends because it was so popular. I thought it would be a really great one for this venue as it appeals to the age group that couldn’t come to the old venue because of accessibility issues.”

Justman-Reichert echoed the sentiments of the director regarding BDACT’s new building.

“Whenever I’m in any theater space performing before I go on stage, I kind of touch the space to absorb its magic, but because this is the first show here, we get to create that magic,” she said. “That’s something about being in this brand new space that is pretty profound.”

According to Feucht, portraying one of the most acclaimed vocalists of the 20th century was a dream she never knew she had. She said her part is somewhat terrifying, though, because Cline is an icon of country music.

“I grew up on a farm and my dad would play old country in the barn when we milked the cows, so Patsy’s music was on all the time when I was little and I loved it,” Feucht said. “Doing this show was a new experience for me because I’m not a country singer, but I got to pull from remembering those moments when I was a kid.”

Feucht and Justman-Reichert were classmates at Mayville High School and agreed it’s always a joy for them when they get a chance to perform together, especially in a two-person production.

“To be able to do a show with somebody I have known for so long is wonderful,” Justman-Reichert said. “This is an intimate show about a relationship between two human beings who care for each other very deeply. It’s great to have that trust and love already established with Jen.”

The musical combines humor, sadness and reality. It offers fans who remember Cline while she was alive a chance to look back, while giving new fans an idea of what seeing her was like and what she meant to her original fans.

Mandala-Klug said the show’s story will appeal to everyone. “You don’t need to like country music to love Patsy Cline,” he said.

A dozen performances are scheduled between Jan. 23 and Feb. 10. The show opens with a preview night Wednesday starting at 7 p.m. For that night only, all tickets are $5.

In addition to the main stage musical, BDACT is hosting afterglows Jan. 25, Feb. 2 and 9. On those evenings, Madala-Klug invited regional artists to give a free one-hour performance in Encore Hall on the second floor of the Fine Arts Center. The hall is limited to the first 150 spectators. Refreshments will be available. More information on the featured guests can be found at bdact.org.

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