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Release: Immediate

'Patsy!' celebrates the life of music of country-music legend Patsy Cline Oct. 23-24 in Hancher

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Patsy!," an award-winning musical revue that celebrates the life and songs of country-music legend Patsy Cline, will come to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for two performances -- at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 23 and 24.

Steve Sedlacek, a dance teacher and a DJ at Maxies in Iowa City, will demonstrate country line dancing with a group of his advanced students and will teach a simple line dance to interested audience members, beginning at 7:20 p.m. in the Hancher lobby before both "Patsy!" performances.

"Patsy!" premiered in 1995 in Branson, Mo., where it played to standing ovations throughout its run, and won Best New Show in the Branson Entertainment Awards. Gail Bliss, who portrays Patsy Cline in the show, was voted Best Female Newcomer. Cline's husband, Charlie Dick, was among the show's fans, stating, "I knew Patsy better than anyone, and she would have loved this show."

After playing for a quarter-of-a-million people during a 27-week run at the Grand Palace in Branson, the show moved in 1996 to Toronto, where it packed houses for another six months before going on tour.

"Patsy!" pays homage to one of the most beloved singers in American popular culture. The show traces her rise from her early days on radio and in roadhouses and portrays her at three highlights of her career by recreating performances at the Grand Ole Opry, Las Vegas and Carnegie Hall. More than 20 of Cline's hits are performed live, with a six-piece band and background vocal quartet that recreate the vintage sound of '50s and '60s country music.

Gail Bliss was selected from among 600 hopefuls for the title role in the first national tour of "A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline." She was the winner of the Washington Area Music Association's Best Female Country and Western Vocalist, and she has opened for artists including Trisha Yearwood, the Kentucky Headhunters, Paula Poundstone and Mel McDaniels.

The touring cast of "Patsy!" includes several veterans of the Grand Ole Opry, Branson and TV's "Hee Haw," in addition to artists who have performed and recorded with country-music greats including Loretta Lynn, the Blackwoods, Roy Clark, Conway Twitty, George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley in 1932. Always spunky and devoted to music, she quit school at the age of 15 to work in a drug store and help support her single mother and younger brother and sister. In return, her mother dedicated her spare time to helping Patsy's career, and drove her to Nashville when she was only 16 for her first Grand Ole Opry audition.

Patsy was never shy about self-promotion and impressed everyone the moment they heard her. In 1957, 10 years after she began singing professionally, her rendition of "Walkin' after Midnight" won first place on the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts program.

It was followed by a series of hits: "I Fall to Pieces," "Crazy" (written by Willie Nelson), "She's Got You," "Leavin' on Your Mind," "Sweet Dreams" and "Faded Love." Her last single release was "A Closer Walk with Thee."

She realized her lifetime ambition of joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1960 and won 10 awards at the WSM Country Music Festival.

In the early 1960's Patsy's life began settling down, just as her career began to pick up. Two children, a dream home and a stack of hit records were finally hers, but she would not be able to enjoy them long. Patsy Cline died in an airplane crash March 5, 1963, while hurrying back to her family after a benefit concert in Kansas City.

Patsy's popularity is witnessed by the fact that she is the number one juke-box play in the world. Her "Greatest Hits" album has been in first place for more than 200 weeks on Billboard's "Top Country Catalog Albums." On March 1, 1995, Patsy was memorialized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Telegroup, Inc., is the corporate sponsor of this event through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support from KDAT-FM/KHAK-FM.

Tickets for "Patsy" are $32.50, $30 and $27. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

To learn more about the "Patsy!", visit the production on the World Wide Web:

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