“I have gotten more than I asked for. All that I ever wanted was to hear my voice on record and have a song 05-16-12-patsy-cline.jpgamong the Top 20.”

                                — Patsy Cline Patsy

Cline was one of country music’s first ladies. She lived her life wide open and shared it with her fans through the haunting, sometimes funny but always honest songs she belted out night after night.

To her, the pinnacle of success was having a record. Today, she would probably be somewhat amused that there is a movie and not one, but two country musicals that celebrate her music and her life. And, Fayetteville residents get a chance to join in the celebration May 17-May 27, as the Cape Fear Regional Theatre brings A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline to the river stage at Campbellton Landing.

“This is really the kind of place that Patsy would have performed,” said Kara Boyer. “She was always performing at fairs and outdoor events. This show almost feels like a concert.”

Boyer, a Kernersville, N.C., native who now lives in the Big Apple, will join veteran CFRT performer Mike Rice at the CFRT River Show to bring Cline’s story to life.

A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline follows Cline’s climb to stardom from her hometown in Virginia to The Grand Ole Opry, Las Vegas and Carnegie Hall, which she noted “was grand, but not as big as The Grand Ole Opry.”

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline includes more than 20 of the country music legend’s popular hits: “Walkin’ after Midnight,” “Sweet Dreams,” “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy.”

Directed by Bo Thorp, the show has its moments of comedy and of the haunting heartbreak of Cline’s music. Put all together, Thorp believes it will create magical nights down by the Cape Fear River.

“This is absolutely one of the top shows we’ve ever done,” said Thorp. “Everyone loves Pasty Cline. Everywhere I’ve gone over the past few weeks, people say they can’t wait to see the show. We have some amazing talent, and are ready to be spend some great nights down by the river.”

For Boyer, who has done both tributes to Cline, performing down the river will be a fi rst. “This is one of those parts that once you start playing it, you get the opportunity to play it several times,” said Boyer.

The show has 22 of Cline’s top songs. “For the fi rst three or four months I was prepping for the show, I never sang a note,” said Boyer. “I just listened to her, and watched any YouTube video I could find so that I could learn her. I wanted to see how she stood, how she sang, how emotional she got. I just listened over and over again. Before I ever dared open my mouth. I really just had to give over to the artistry that people know and love about Patsy Cline.”

“Her heartache came because she lived a hard life,” said Boyer of Cline. “She wanted to succeed as an artist and did what she had to do to become successful. When she sings, she puts everything she had into her songs. She is so emotional.”

This year’s dinner theatre features the great American hamburger as the dinner choice, served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, dill chips, molasses baked beans, southern potato salad and iced tea. Dinner starts at 7 p.m., with tickets ranging from $25 to $28. Show-only reserved seating ranges in price from $14 to $20, with non-reserved seats ranging from $12 to 18. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.

For tickets and more information, visit www.cfrt.org.

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