A tribute to Patsy
Maureen Collins is no stranger to the music of Patsy Cline.
She played the country star who was killed in a plane crash in 1964 at age 30 in “Always … Patsy Cline,” which Easy Street Productions did at both Powers Auditorium and Packard Music Hall in the ’90s.
She will revisit Cline’s music in “Collins Sings Cline: A Grand Ole Opry Salute,” which will be staged for two performances at DeYor Performing Art Center’s Ford Family Recital Hall.
“I’m so excited to sing her music again,” Collins said. “Jane (Hill) and I have talked about doing ‘Always’ again before we’re both way too old. We’ve thought about it, but it never came to fruition for one reason or another.”
Easy Street Productions, which Collins cofounded with Todd Hancock, originally hoped to do “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for Mother’s Day weekend. When they weren’t able to secure the rights because of a current national tour featuring former “American Idols” Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, they decided to revisit Cline’s music in a production that is more personal for Collins.
“I’m trying to tell a lot of her story and relate it to mine,” she said. “We’re both small town girls who started singing religious music first. She quit school; I always wanted to quit school. And my father was from Tennessee and always dreamed of me being on the Grand Ole Opry.”
Backed by a five-piece band led by Jeff Sanders, Collins will sing all of Cline’s best-known songs, like “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Crazy,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Always” and “I Fall to Pieces.” But she’ll also do Cline songs that might not be as well known.
“There’s so many,” Collins said. “‘She’s Got You’ is probably my favorite. When you think of those songs they used to play when you went to prom dances and you envision these women with these horrible hairdos and long skirts and saddle shoes, ‘She’s Got You’ is probably the gem.”
Joining Collins on stage will be Natalie Sprouse, who has appeared in other Easy Street productions and won the DeYor Singing Star contest.
“I’m just thrilled to have her,” Collins said. “She’s the future of Youngstown. We’re going to hear great things about her.”
The program will include a few songs from other country artists, and since it’s Mother Day weekend, Collins will do “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which she always sang for her mom.
The staging will include two video screens that will feature photos of Cline and other images to accompany the songs.
“I’m trying to incorporate songs about small hometowns,” she said. “For ‘Come On In,’ we might show visuals of Youngstown. When I’m singing about kids, there might be visuals of me with the kids (from Easy Street’s Little Rascals). It’s not just me standing up there singing songs.”