CONWAY/FRYEBURG — Arts In Motion is presenting “Always…Patsy Cline” as this year's annual scholarship fund-raiser for students at Kennett High School and Fryeburg Academy.
The show, a unique musical that is more of a concert with scenes scattered throughout than a traditional musical, is being performed at Loynd Auditorium at Kennett High School on April 9-10 and at the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center at Fryeburg Academy on Friday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m.
“Playing music in a musical is different than in a regular club band but this show has a good mix of both,” Mary Bastoni-Rebmann, the show's director and star, said. “The musicians have done a great job of easing into this process and bringing a genuine live club band sound to the show.”
Bastoni-Rebmann as Patsy Cline and is backed by a six-piece band of some of the valley's most familiar and best musicians including Chuck O’Connor on pedal steel guitar, John Whitney on keyboard, Seth Austin on fiddle, Tom Rebmann on electric guitar, Moe Baillergeon on bass and Jill Ohlson on drums.
“Mary has assembled an outstanding group of musicians for this project who are as familial and collegial as they are talented,” O'Connor said. “Mary is an outstanding vocalist and has provided the kind of leadership and direction that allows for this diverse group of artists to coalesce as if having worked together for years.”
Cline's story is told from the perspective of her friend and manager Louise played by Carrie Engfer. The plotting is relatively loose and is a showcase for the music, which brings together 30 songs including “Sweet Dreams,” Walkin’After Midnight,” “I Fall To Pieces” and “Crazy.”
“We're trying to project that this is more about the music than it is about Patsy's life,” Ohlson said. “Patsy's life kind of makes the music come about. The emphasis is mostly on the music.”
Even with the focus on the music, unlike a lot of shows that attempt to string together hits from one particular artist, the dramatic material actually works and has humor and substance.
“A little bit of it tries to key in on her personal life and what it was like to be her and her relationship to Louise,” Whitney said.
The band has been listening to original Cline recordings as well as the cast recording of “Always... Patsy Cline.” Band members are attempting to get as close as possible to the way the songs were originally performed.
“The production is pretty close to how Patsy was singing the material,” Whitney said. “Some of the instrumentation has changed. In some instances someone is playing a lap steel guitar and we're playing a pedal steel guitar, so it sounds a little bit different, but the intent is still the same.”
Bastoni-Rebmann has been working hard on capturing the essence of Cline's distinct vocal style.
“As a vocalist and voice teacher I understand the vocal mechanics of many styles of singing,” Bastoni-Rebmann said. “I have studied Patsy’s vocal style closely and have learned to incorporate her country nuances. Her pure and rich alto sound mixed with vocal power is what made her voice a country legend.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.artsinmotiontheater.com or at the door.