Get close to the music with Macon Little Theatre’s “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”

lshirley@macon.comMay 9, 2014 

Tiffany Hill may have won the role of a lifetime with the lead in “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline,” opening Friday at Macon Little Theatre.

“My mom had a big song book from when she was 11 or 12 with two or three Patsy Cline songs in it and Hank Williams and that kind of music. I grew up singing with my dad from when I was about 5; he always wanted me to sing ‘Crazy’ or ‘I Fall to Pieces’ from that book,” Hill said, adding that her father bought her a guitar a few years later, and she auditioned for the role of Patsy Cline for the first time when she was a teenager.

“I was really young, but it was a good experience for me,” said Hill, a Rutland High School teacher.

She didn’t get the role then but has taken to the community theater stage in Cochran and has performed at churches and local fairs as well.

Director Sylvia Haynie “couldn’t be happier” to have Hill in the role.

“Because she’s such a huge fan of the play, she came in to this knowing almost all of the songs. There are probably 20 songs; it’s a huge number. It’s a play but also a concert,” Haynie said.

In addition to the character of Patsy Cline, the show features a radio DJ, played by John Jones, who also serves as the narrator, and follows Cline’s career from the time she walked into a radio station and sang on-air through her performance at Carnegie Hall, including a stop in Las Vegas.

“Because the band is on stage, some aspects of the set stay the same throughout, but we will change backgrounds, and we have a gorgeous Las Vegas backdrop made by Backdrops Fantastic right here in Macon,” Haynie said.

“A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline” also follows the singer’s fashion changes throughout her career in the late 1950s and early ’60s.

“We’ve relied more on photos of Patsy and the things she liked to wear. She liked color and prints, and as she became more of a crossover artist, she began to change her look and was kind of more glamorous,” Hayne said. “She didn’t stick the more Western wear; when she performed at Carnegie Hall, she was very elegant and beautiful.”

With the band right on stage, the music is always front and center.

“(Co-director) Laura Voss has put together an awesome live band, a really true country music band, and having them on stage allows the audience to really appreciate their musicianship,” Haynie said, adding that backup singers also will add to the authentic Patsy Cline sound for people who are used to listening to her music, like Hill’s family.

“My mom took me to that first audition, and she is so excited for me. All of my family is excited, and they just want to talk about it all the time,” Hill said.

“A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”

When: 8 p.m. May 9-10, 14-17; 2:30 p.m. May 11 and 18

Where: Macon Little Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Road

Cost: $18 adults; $15 senior citizens; $10 students ages 5-23

Information: 478-477-3342, www.maconlittletheatre.org

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