When you do a Patsy Cline show, you call Katie Deal.
That's what CATCO producing director Steven Anderson learned.
Prior to casting CATCO's Always... Patsy Cline, Anderson wasn't familiar with the Georgia actress who has portrayed Cline in not only this show, but another Cline biopic, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, and her own tribute show, Today, Tomorrow & Forever: A Tribute to Patsy Cline.
Associate producing director Joe Bishara recommended Deal, but Anderson wasn't about to just hand the part to someone without proper audi-tions -- until he heard an online clip he believed featured Cline but turned out to be Deal.
"I guess I auditioned her online," Anderson joked.
Deal first portrayed Cline as the understudy in a production of A Closer Walk in 2003.
"I sort of found a niche, or maybe it found me," Deal said of her unplanned career as a go-to actress for Cline-related roles.
Deal said she "grew up on" country music, and that it was the special character of Cline's singing, the "power and emotion in her voice," that led her to hold Cline in higher regard. Cline's crossover appeal as a torch singer outside of country music was additionally appealing to Deal.
"She had that ability to make a song hers because of the way she sang," Deal explained.
Both Anderson and Deal were explicit that this show is not intended to impersonate Cline.
"I pay tribute to her, but it's a portrayal, not an impersonation," Deal said.
Indeed, Always... is told from the perspective of Louise Seger, a real-life single mom and Cline fan who became friends with the singer following a casual conversation at a Texas honky-tonk. Kristie Koehler Vuocolo portrays Seger in the CATCO production.
"It's a musical biography of sorts in which Louise sets the scenes," Anderson explained.
"This is Louise's show. It's a heartwarming and funny story of how Patsy touched her life," Deal added, calling Vuocolo's portrayal of Seger "hilar- ious."
While not a straight revue of the Cline catalog, Always... includes 27 of her songs, some famous, some less so, and a four-piece live band.