The Temple Theatre picked a proven crowd-pleaser to kick off its 25th season. A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline has graced the stages of community theaters across the nation. Showcasing 20 of Cline’s top hits, the show blends theatre and music together for an evening at the theatre that appeals to people of all ages.
    The show was first put on stage by Dean Regan in Vancouver. Following a run of sold-out shows across Canada, the show was first staged in Boston, Mass., and has since enjoyed successful runs all across the nation. It is the only Patsy Cline production that is sanctioned by the Patsy Cline estate.
    The play is a celebration of Cline’s brief, but full, life and career. Cline is one of the legends of country music. She had her first audition for the Grad Ole Opry at the age of 16. She was a consummate professional, who made it her business to promote herself. Her star started to rise following the release of “Walkin’ After Midnight,” which was released 10 years after she started her career. That was only the first of a string of hits for the first lady of country music: “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Faded Love” were among some of her hits. {mosimage}
    Cline’s life was cut short when her plane crashed on March 5, 1963. Like many of the greats, her death only brought her greater acclaim, so that even today her music tops the jukebox playlist. It is that legacy that is celebrated in A Closer Walk.
    Lisa Dames, an Ohio native, is set to star in the show. Dames has been involved in numerous productions of shows based on Cline’s life, and has performed in A Closer Walk in several states. She first appeared in a Cline show in Greensboro after receiving a call from an old college friend.
    “I told her I’d never done anything like that and that I didn’t sound like Patsy Cline. She said, ‘I know, but I think you can do it,’” she recalled.
    “It’s funny, but portraying Patsy Cline is what helped me to develop my own style,” says Dames. “While most of the other actresses who were doing these shows were so focused on sounding just like Patsy, I was focused on the emotion she put into her songs. And that’s how I try to sing everything. Without the emotion, it’s just a bunch of words. Patsy knew this. That’s why she’s timeless.”
    The Temple Theatre is located in downtown Sanford. The theatre has been bringing quality shows to the community for 25 years, and this year, in celebration of its 25th season, it has added a black-box theatre to its facility, which has allowed the company to expand its season.
    A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline will be on stage at The Temple through Sept. 28. Show times are Thursday at 2 and 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m.
    Adult tickets are $20. Thursday night show tickets are $16, as are tickets for active duty soldiers, Lee County educators and groups of 10 or more. Children’s tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased through the Temple Box Office, which is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and  Friday from 2-6 p.m. and Thursday from 2-5 p.m. The box office can be reached by calling (919) 774-4155 or via e-mail at boxoffice@templeshows.

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