A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline
Where: McPherson Playhouse
When: Opens 8 p.m. tonight, continues to Nov.10
Tickets: Starting at $24.50. McPherson box office (250-386-6121)
Once again, she's doing that Patsy Cline walk.
Sara-Jeanne Hosie says the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre's production of A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, which opens tonight, marks the eighth time she's played the legendary country singer.
And that's a whole lotta Patsy.
"She just keeps coming," said Hosie, 34, a native Victorian based in Vancouver. "I feel I play her once a theatre season. Which is great - it's been a role that's been really, really good to me."
The Hosie name is a familiar one in Victoria's theatre community. Sara-Jeanne's father, Bill Hosie, is a stage actor. Her mother, Sylvia Hosie, is a director and choreographer. By the age of 11, their daughter was performing in Butchart Gardens shows.
Playing Patsy isn't for the faint hearted. The late Cline, who died in a 1963 plane crash, was a titan of country music. She pioneered the "countrypolitan" style, which favoured sophisticated pop-song arrangements, often set to strings.
Above all, it was Cline's astonishing voice that made her timeless: a big, rich, soulful instrument capable of conveying emotion with startling power.
Hosie will tackle many of Cline's benchmark hits, such as Walking After Midnight, I Fall to Pieces, Sweet Dreams and Crazy. She's learned some of the late singer's vocal tricks, including a heart-catching yodel/flip. There's an element of mimicry, but Hosie views it as a serious acting role. "I really feel like impersonations can be hollow," she added.
Created by Vancouver's Dean Regan in 1991, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline is essentially a breezy musical revue. A garrulous DJ narrates Cline's rise from roadhouses to the Grand Ole Opry. Patsy is backed by a five-piece band. Regan's show is popular, having been staged regularly across North America.
Hosie said director Brian Richmond has made this the most theatrical version of A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline she's been in. There's an increased emphasis on the visuals; Cline moves around more and four dancers have been added.
"But I try to stay to the heart of who she is, you know," Hosie said "That doesn't shift much."
Her resume includes the Belfry Theatre's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and starring roles in Cabaret and Les Miserables at Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre. Last summer, Hosie took the lead role of Audrey for Blue Bridge's Little Shop of Horrors.
Her husband is Kevin Kruchkywich, an actor who'll perform in the Belfry Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol this month. In the new year, the couple will move from Vancouver to Stratford, Ont., where they've purchased a colonial-style brick home.
Hosie hopes the city will be a good base for possible jobs in Toronto as well as the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
They may even start a family. "One kid, maybe," she said. "Kids are hard with what we do. But I do think one would be lovely at some point."