Firebrand Theatre Presents
ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE
By Ted Swindley
Directed by Brigitte Ditmars
Musical Direction by Andra Velis Simon
EXTENDED BY POPULAR DEMAND!
November 16 – January 25, 2019
at The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre
Featuring Danni Smith and Missy Wise
Due to popular demand, Firebrand Theatre is pleased to announce a third and final extension of its hit revival of ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE, now playing through Saturday, February 23 at The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.
For the new block of performances, Missy Wise joins the cast as Patsy Cline with Firebrand Co-Founder Danni Smith as Louise Seger (February 7 – 16, 2020). Firebrand Co-Founder and original cast member Harmony France returns as Patsy Cline (February 21 – 23, 2020). France and Smith continue their current roles as Patsy and Louise respectively, through January 25, 2020.
Patsy Cline was an American country music singer and part of the Nashville sound during the late 1950s and early 1960s. She successfully “crossed over” to pop music and was one of the most influential, successful, and acclaimed vocalists of the 20th century.
ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE is based on the true story of Patsy’s friendship with Houstonite Louise Seger. Having first heard Patsy on the Arthur Godfrey Show in 1957, Louise became an immediate and avid fan of Patsy’s and she constantly hounded the local disc jockey to play Patsy’s records on the radio. In 1961 when Patsy went to Houston for a show, Louise and her buddies arrived about an hour-and-a-half early and, by coincidence, met Patsy who was traveling alone. The two women struck up a friendship – a friendship that lasted the rest of Patsy Cline’s life.
This moving musical, complete with laughs, down home country charm, and sisterhood, includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Walking After Midnight”… 27 songs in all! The show’s title was inspired by Patsy’s letters to Louise, which were consistently signed “Love ALWAYS… Patsy Cline.”
Title: ALWAYS… PATSY CLINE
Writer: Ted Swindley
Director Brigitte Ditmars
Music Director: Andra Velis Simon
Cast: Harmony France and Danni Smith (Patsy Cline and Louise Seger respectively)
Band: Andra Velis Simon (conductor/keyboard), Steven Romero Schaeffer (guitars), Emma Sheikh (fiddle) and Spencer Meeks/ Tommy Malouf (drums).
Location: The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Dates: Previews: November 16, 17
Regular run: Thursday, November 21 – Sunday, December 15, 2019
Extension: Thursday, December 19, 2019 – Saturday, January 4, 2020
Second Extension: Friday, January 10, 2020 – January 25, 2020
Third Extension: Friday, February 7, 2020- February 23, 2020
Curtain Times: Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 3 pm and 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: Regular run $40. $20 students/industry rush tickets available at the box office.
About The Artists
Harmony France (Patsy Cline) is co-founder and the artistic director of Firebrand Theatre, Chicago’s own feminist musical theatre company, where she has been the producer of Lizzie, 9 To 5, Caroline, Or Change (Jeff Award: Production Musical), Queen of the Mist and now, Always… Patsy Cline. As an actor, Harmony has traveled the world with the Broadway National/International tour of Sister Act. She has been nominated for two Jeff Awards for Best actress and is the recipient of a BroadwayWorld Award for playing the title role in Violet at Bailiwick Chicago. Most recently she was the asst. director for David Cromer’s acclaimed production of Next To Normal at Writers Theatre. Additionally, Harmony has worked with TimeLine Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Peninsula Players, Theatre at the Center, American Theater Company, Porchlight Music Theatre, Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, Windy City Playhouse, The New Colony, Route 66, City Lit Theatre, and Timberlake Playhouse where she played Patsy in Always, Patsy Cline. She studied opera at Brenau University, acting at Columbia College, and Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 2019, she was honored by NewCity Stage as one of the “Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago” and has been featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Social and Playbill. You can see her next as Edith and Edie Beale in Theo Ubique’s production of
Grey Gardens. Thanks to her family, Jon for taking the reins, and Eric and Max for the daily sanity. Instagram: @harmonyfrance
Danni Smith (Louise Seger) is thrilled to join the cast of Always…Patsy Cline and be a part of this gem of a show celebrating women, friendship, and the timeless and heart-healing music of Patsy Cline! Co-founder of Firebrand Theatre and a proud graduate of Ball State University, Danni has been so fortunate to perform throughout the Chicagoland area including shows with Victory Gardens (Fun Home), Marriott Theatre (Mamma Mia!, Man of La Mancha, Bridges of Madison County, City of Angels), Paramount Theatre (A Christmas Story: The Musical, Mamma Mia!), American Theater Company (Oklahoma!), Theo Ubique (Passion, Jesus Christ Superstar, Always…Patsy Cline, Pump Boys and Dinettes), Porchlight Music Theatre (Chess), Bailiwick Chicago (The Wild Party, Violet, See What I Wanna See), New York NAMT Fall Festival, The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Lakeside Shakespeare (The Rover, Two Gentlewomen of Verona, Twelfth Night, Richard III, Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet). She also performs her trio concert show We Three with dear friends Cassie Slater and Meghan Murphy throughout Chicago. Danni stars in indie horror feature The Gateway (available on Amazon), and has been honored with four Joseph Jefferson awards. Much love to Harmony, the Firebrand team, her PGGs, K&T&W, Evan, mom, Papa, and Martin for their endless support and encouragement!
Missy Wise (Patsy)
Recent credits include: Million Dollar Quartet (Clarence Brown Theater) Bright Star (Boho Theater Ensemble) Legally Blonde (Paramount Theatre) FLIES! The Musical! (Pride Films and Plays) Sweeney Todd (Theo Ubique) Bonnie & Clyde (Kokandy Productions) Bi
Brigitte Ditmars (Director) is a Chicago based director/choreographer with over 25 years of experience in professional and educational theatre. She is pleased to return to Firebrand having served as Associate Director/Choreographer for Caroline, or Change. Professional credits include work with Birmingham Children’s Theatre, Timber Lake Playhouse, Porchlight Music Theatre, American Theater Company, Mercury Theatre, Theater Wit, Emerald City Children’s Theatre, Fox Valley Repertory, Circle Theatre, Signal Ensemble Theatre, Hell in a Handbag Productions, Strawdog Theatre, Metropolis Center for the Performing Arts, The Factory Theater and Northwestern University. She has received two Joseph Jefferson Awards for Achievement in Choreography, as well as three additional nominations.
Andra Velis Simon (Music Director) is the Resident Music Director for Firebrand, where she has music directed Caroline, or Change, 9 to 5 The Musical, and Firebrand’s inaugural production of Lizzie. Andra has worked regionally at Actors Theatre of Louisville, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Berkeley Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, NYU’s Skirball Center, Olney Theatre Center in Maryland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, and others. In Chicago, her work has been seen at Steppenwolf, Goodman, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Theater Wit, The Hypocrites, and dozens of others. Most recently, she music directed Next to Normal at Writers Theatre and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at Porchlight Music Theatre. Andra is also adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where she has taught musical theatre performance since 2008.
Firebrand Theatre’s 2019-20 season sponsor: Michael and Mona Heath of the HeathFund.