This is a huge week for Patsy Cline fans in Wichita Falls, Texas as it marks the 55th anniversary of her hit “I Fall To Pieces” rising to number one on the charts, according to Patsy Cline’s website. The Backdoor Theater in Wichita Falls is also continuing its run of the musical “Always….Patsy Cline” on its stage tonight, Friday, August 14-August 29. Elizabeth Speer reprises the role of Patsy Cline and sings many of the icon’s hits including “I Fall To Pieces.”
“I Fall To Pieces” went on to become the #1 song for the entire year of 1961 and later would be named the eleventh most requested jukebox song of all time. However, Cline’s extraordinary hit “Crazy” was voted Number One on jukeboxes all across America. “I Fall To Pieces” was added to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Backdoor Theater prodouction of “Always Patsy Cline” continues the tradition of this hit which started on Broadway. This production is more than a tribute to the great singer who died in a plane crash in 1963 when she was only 30. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger. Seger was a housewife who befriended Cline in a Texas honky tonk in 1961. They corresponded with each other on a regular basis for the two years remaining in the songbird’s life.
The name of the production is based on the fact the legend signed all her letters to Seger “Love Always…Patsy Cline.” Speer sings several Cline fans at Backdoor Theater tonight including Crazy, I fall to Pieces, Sweet Dreams and Walking After Midnight. Twenty-seven songs are included.
In the Wichita Falls production tonight Debbie Barrow plays the role of Cline’s friend. She displays a very good voice singing backup on many of the songs.
The song “I Fall To Pieces” almost never happened. Patsy was almost killed in a car crash which occurred while she and her brother were driving to a local store. She was thrown in the windshield of her car and suffered severe injury to her forehead, arm and hip. While she recovered in the hospital “I Fall To Pieces” climbed to the top of the charts.
Patsy was named singer of the year in 1962 and toured with Johnny Cash and George Jones that year. Even after her death she continued to receive awards. The album “Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits” has sold ten million copies. She was also conducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee following her death. She was the first female artist to be voted into this elite group.
There will never be another Patsy Cline and her music still lives on. Her strong alto voice and the intense feeling she interjected into her renditions of songs made her one of a kind. It is only fitting Backdoor Theater is featuring her music on this the 55th anniversary of “I Fall To Pieces” rising to number one.
Ted Swindley, the creator of “Always Patsy Cline” first brought the production to New York City in June of 1997.