Struthers, Calvert honor Patsy Cline

 Sally Struthers Sally Struthers Emmy Award-winner Sally Struthers and Broadway star Carter Calvert will take the stage at Algonquin Arts Theatre, 173 Main St., Manasquan, when “Always Patsy Cline” opens on Jan. 25 for a two-weekend run.

More than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963, Ted Swindley’s musical play balances down-home country humor, sadness and realism. The play is based on a true story about Patsy Cline’s (played by Calvert) relationship with Houston housewife Louise Seger (played by Struthers). Seger befriended Cline in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and their pen-pal correspondence until Cline’s death provides much of the basis for the plot.

The production features a live band onstage backing Calvert as she sings dozens of Cline’s hits including “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Anytime” and “Walking After Midnight.”

 Carter Calvert Carter Calvert “Always Patsy Cline” is sponsored by Savvy Style.

Opening night is slated for Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., with performances continuing on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. The second weekend of shows will be on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. Tickets may be purchased for $28 for adults, $26 for seniors and $18 for students at, 732-528-9211, or at the theater’s box office. Some premium seats are available for $5 more. All tickets are subject to $2 processing fees.

Struthers established herself as part of television history on the famed sitcom “All in the Family,” winning Emmy awards in 1972 and 1979 as Gloria, Archie and Edith Bunker’s only child. More recently, Struthers became a favorite of another generation, starring as Babette Dell on “Gilmore Girls.”

Struthers has played the role of Louis Seger on stage more than 900 times, and says about the show: “Patsy Cline’s hit songs are brilliant and nearly everybody remembers them. It’s hugely entertaining for everybody.”

Before playing this role last January in Covina, Calif., she told the Los Angeles Daily News: “People don’t know who Louise Seger was, so I can take the artistic license and play Louise the way I wish to play her. It is a wonderful chance for me to create a character that still says the lines that were written, but does them the way I believe Louise must have felt in her heart about Patsy because she was just an overthe top fan.”

Calvert’s credits include a Tony Award nomination on Broadway for “It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues,” a European tour of “Smokey Joe’s Café” and the lead role of Grizabella in the national tour of “Cats.” She recently released a critically acclaimed jazz album with the Roger Cohen Trio.

This play is directed by David Galligan, who has directed this play and Struthers on both coasts. The Ogunquit, Maine, production also starred Calvert and Struthers together. Galligan’s direction will be supported by Production Supervisor Jayme McDaniel and other staff directly from the Ogunquit Playhouse, who will come to Manasquan for this run.