Margaret Belton is back as Patsy Cline and welcomes back live theatre to the East Bay


WOODMINSTER SUMMER MUSICALS WELCOMES BACK EAST BAY AUDIENCES TO LIVE THEATRE


The Oakland hills are almost alive this summer. Woodminster Summer Musicals is among the few local stages that have reopened for the 2021 summer. ALWAYS PATSY CLINE opened WSM’s new season with strict covid standards in place. I have seen this musical a few times in the Bay Area. The two actors who perform the 18 tribute songs are Bay Area vets, Margaret Belton as Patsy Cline and Julia Alane Eztel as Louise Seger -- both performed these roles many times. I saw them both at Altarena Stage in Alameda, they are excellent on whatever stage they perform this jukebox musical.


Some history: One of the great losses in American music was the early passing of Patsy Cline, at age 30 in a 1963 plane crash. Cline pioneered country music for women, and she brought a catalog of great songs to the national country music charts; with classics including Willie Nelson’s “Crazy”, Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams” and Alan Block’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”.


Margaret Belton, brings the perfect charm to Patsy using her own rendition on all her songs. Belton has a powerful voice and an authentic stage presence. Julia Alane Eztel as her trusted friend Louise brings a terrific performance as her side partner. The on stage singers include musical director Mark Dietrich and the Jordanaires; Mark Robinson, Jim Rupp and Kathleen Salvia all Woodminster vets. The stage band under the direction of David Phillips includes Henry Salvia, Mark Petrella, Darryl Berk, R Hood and Wakeford Gong.


I have seen better productions of this musical, but you can not beat the talents of Belton and Eztel. Wherever they perform these songs, it is a wonderful evening honoring Patsy Cline. Technically this show is not well crafted; the scenic design by Loej Daschler and sound design by Ty Weichhart is amateurish for this equity quality cast.


The covid restrictions included mask requirements and the 1200 seat outdoor venue reduced their seating to about 350 people. The park did not sell well, folks are still cautious about large crowds. The box office is not open on show nights, all tickets must be purchased over the phone - I listed the number below.


Margaret Belton is well worth the price of the ticket to see this musical, and it is a welcome performance to bring back theatre to the East Bay and the Oakland Hills.


Woodminster Summer Musicals Presents

ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE

Created and originally directed by Ted Swindley

based on a true story

Directed by Joel Schlader

Music Direction by Mark Dietrich

THE SHOW MUST CLOSE SUNDAY JULY 18TH

TICKETS ON SALE BY PHONE NOW

CALL 510-531-9597

Box Office Hours (PDT)

Monday through Friday 10am-4pm

Saturday 10am-2pm



Photos by Natalie Jane and Stephen Woo.

Featuring Margaret Belton as Patsy Cline and Julia Etzel as Louise Seger

Song notes courtesy of Deborah Crooks

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