BRUNSWICK — “Always, Patsy Cline” runs through Saturday at the Maine State Music Theater. The production, with a cast of two (plus backup band) is a powerhouse show. Based on the true story of the singer’s friendship with a fan, as told through their letters, it includes an incredible 27 of Patsy’s hits, including “Crazy,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and “Sweet Dreams.”

I’m confident many people under 40 have only a loose understanding of who Cline is, and don’t comprehend the magnitude of her influence and importance in the music industry. From an MSMT background piece, “She was known for helping to break down the gender barrier in country music and received her first recording contract in the 1950s. In the early 1960s, Cline joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and successfully ‘crossed over’ to pop music with several of her songs … In 2005 her album, ‘Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits,’ was listed as the Longest-Charting Title by a Female Artist in the Guinness Book of World Records, with over 10 million records sold.”

The primarily 40-plus crowd in the Pickard Theater watched the performance with rapt attention and joy. This show offers a unique opportunity to “see” Patsy Cline in action. Christine Mild, in the lead role, lends a stellar representation through her vocal mastery and attention to detail with regard to song, speech, mannerisms and presence. Many actresses play a role. In this production, Mild does us the favor of becoming Patsy Cline so we can witness history.

MSMT veteran Charis Leos reprises her role as Louis Segar, a genuine, larger-than-life Texas gal who says what she thinks and whose enthusiasm and fangirl antics are infectious. This is Leos just as the MSMT audience likes her – loud, boisterous, sassy and bringing them in on the joke at every opportunity.

It would be easy to say the music is the star of this show, with dozens of examples of Cline’s work permeating the production. It’s really much more than that. The performances of the actresses, subtlety of body language, classic honky-tonky patina of indifference on the backup band, amazing period costumes and the creative set are all important ingredients in this recipe for a memorable night at the theater.

Most shows are entertainment. This production is a time machine, allowing you to experience a talent and an era long past, which resonates with joy and heartache these decades later.
For more information, and to buy tickets, visit msmt.org or call 725-8769.

Tamara Lilly is a Woolwich native with 30-plus years as performer, tech, producer, director, teacher, board member and staff at community theaters in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Maine. Find the Stage Door Diva Podcast on iTunes or stagedoordiva.com.