‘Always’ brings old friends back together

“Always … Patsy Cline” will open its four-show run at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, continuing at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, with a 3 p.m. matinee set for Sunday, Feb. 24. All performances will be held at the Porter Performing Arts Center on Ram Drive in Covington.

COVINGTON — Theatre Covington’s staging of “Always…Patsy Cline” not only represents a musical evening out for east metro residents but it also represents a reunion of sorts.

The play, which includes some 20 of Cline’s most beloved tunes, will re-team actors – and long-time friends — Patty Maguire and Denise Chance Oravec, along with director Jay Tryall, all three of whom have previously teamed up for this production.

“We’ve done it twice before in Conyers and it’s been over 10 years since all those productions, so it’s been a while,” said Tryall, the artistic director of Theatre Covington, an arm of the Arts Association in Newton County.

“Always…Patsy Cline” will open its four-show run at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, continuing at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23, with a 3 p.m. matinee set for Sunday, Feb. 24. All performances will be held at the Porter Performing Arts Center on Ram Drive in Covington.

Tryall said that even though Maguire (who portrays Cline, who was killed in a 1963 plane crash) and Oravec (who plays super-fan and pen pal Louise Seger, who wrote the book the two-person play is based upon) have not done “Always” in a number of years, rehearsals have gone smoothly.

“Denise plays Louise and now lives in South Georgia at St. Mary’s Island,” said Tryall. “She moved down there not long after we finished the last ‘Patsy Cline’ and she’s coming back up here to do it. She came up for MLK weekend and we rehearsed all weekend long, but before we did it we all sat down and watched the old production to kind of get back into it and everything.

“The characters for both of the ladies were just like old friends – it was easy to pull them out and get back into and they didn’t have to do a lot of work on it. It was a lot of re-memorization for Louise because she’s the only one really has any dialogue. Patsy sings about 20 different songs and Louise has the majority of the dialogue in the show. Patsy has a couple of lines here and there – nothing major – but for the most part, Louise does all of the talking.”

It doesn’t hurt the production at all, Tryall said, that the “Always” principals are the best of friends.

“Patty and Denise have been friends for years,” said Tryall, who has a long and distinguished history with Rockdale County’s Depot Players. “They were educators together in Conyers for more than 30 years. They’ve been buds for a long time. Denise stays at Patty’s house for the rehearsals.

“Patty is my best friend, so it’s great to work with her any time, and Denise and I have known each other for 20 years.”

“Always” is Theatre Covington’s second production of the 2018-19 performance season and just the third show the group has presented. “Sister Act” was the organization’s first play in 2017 and “Once On This Island” was staged last fall.

“‘Once On This Island’ was our last production with Theatre Covington,” said Tryall. “We wanted to be able to offer two shows that we knew would appeal to two different sections of our community. ‘Once On This Island’ had a very specific audience and ‘Always…Patsy Cline’ has a very specific audience.

“We knew that (this show) would sell. Country music, there’s definitely an audience for that. And it’s just a really dad-gum good show. It’s Patsy Cline, and people love her music and Patty is so good at it and Denise is a really great comedic actress and she’ll have people in stitches.”

For ticket information, call 770-786-8188 or visit www.newtoncountyarts.org.

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