Local performer will take you on ‘A Date With Patsy Cline’

in Arts by

If there were some way to bring Patsy Cline back from Country Music Heaven for a date with Maggy Norden, her #1 fan and star of the one-woman show, “A Date With Patsy Cline,” Maggy knows just what she would do: “I’d probably want to keep her all to myself, and ask her what she thinks about the icon she has become since her death in 1963.  I’d ask her some gossipy questions I’m curious about, too. But then, knowing how much she loved her fans, I would take her bar-hopping to all my favorite singing haunts around Beaufort and watch people be amazed by her talent.”

Maggy Norden stars in the one-woman show “A Date With Patsy Cline.”
Maggy Norden stars in the one-woman show “A Date With Patsy Cline.”

A lifelong admirer of the singer (who died tragically in a plane crash at age 30, just as her career was taking off) Maggy has parlayed her fandom, and her remarkable singing voice, into sold-out performances of “Always … Patsy Cline” at USCB, singing as Patsy for tips at a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser, being an “auction item” at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s Valentine Ball, and teaching a couple of OLLI classes in full costume and character with a mixture of songs and stories from Patsy’s life. All of this has culminated in her brand-new original show, “A Date With Patsy Cline,” which will run April 4-6 at ARTworks.

Maggy, who lives with her husband Joey in Habersham, said she “grew up loving Patsy’s songs. In fact, in ‘Always … Patsy Cline,’ Louise Segar (who was played by director Gail Westerfield) said it best, upon hearing Patsy for the first time: ‘That sounds the way I’ve always wanted to sing.’ So it was serendipity that I was given the opportunity to portray Patsy in that show.”

Knowing of her interest, friends began giving Maggy books about Patsy, and Maggy grew to admire her even more.  “Her short life was filled with hard work and heartache. She was incredibly tenacious. She was gutsy and brash and loyal to a fault, even turning down opportunities if it meant hurting someone in the process.”

“A Date With Patsy Cline” features 20 of Patsy’s biggest hits and her life story, including both personal tidbits and the impact she made on country and pop music in the 20th century.

“I will take you from the Shenandoah Hills of Virginia where Patsy was born during the Depression,” Maggy says, “to Carnegie Hall, where she performed at the height of her career.  There will be audience participation, lots of toe-tapping, and perhaps a few tears when you hear her most memorable hits,” Maggy promises.

“Patsy was a trailblazer for women in country music as well as pop.  She was a solo artist at a time when men dominated the industry. Her determination and perseverance took her all the way to the top, and along the way she helped other female artists: Brenda Lee, Barbara Mandrell, Loretta Lynn, and Dottie West.”

After one her OLLI classes, Maggy says, “a student told me afterwards that she was all set to ask me if I knew her friend, who had also competed on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts as Patsy had in 1957.  But then she remembered, ‘This isn’t actually Patsy Cline. It’s an actress, Maggy Norden!’”

You, too, can feel as if you’re really on a date with The Cline on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 6 at 3 p.m. at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center on Boundary Street. Tickets are $21 and available online at http://beaufortcountyarts.com/theater.htm or by calling 843-379-2787. Group discounts are available; call for pricing.