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Patsy Cline

"Always... Patsy Cline," the stage tribute to the late country singer and her dedicated fan is returning to Theatre at the Center in Munster for a two-month run Feb. 23 through April 1, 2012.

Theatre at the Center Artistic Director William Pullinsi and General Manager Richard Friedman have announced a 2012 season for the stage venue at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster.

The new season starts with the new year, and a return from an old favorite.

The touching theater story tribute based on the true story of the legendary country singer Patsy Cline and the adoration of her number one fan first premiered at Theater at the Center in 2003.

The show "Always... Patsy Cline" will be featured again, back by popular demand, for a run February 23 through April 1.

Written and originally directed by Ted Swindley, Chicago native and Jeff Award nominee Michelle Duffy, who has TV credits on "Desperate Housewives," "House," "The Closer" and "Las Vegas" stars as Patsy Cline. This international hit musical had its world premiere in 1988, with just a short  Chicago run, and has enjoyed great success over the United States, including a long run Off-Broadway.

More than just a tribute to the legendary country singer, this musical, based on a true story, recounts Cline's friendship with a fan from Houston, Louise Seger (to be played in this production by Janelle Snow). Patsy befriended Louise at a Texas honky tonk and the two remained pen pals until her untimely death at the age of 30 in a 1963 plane crash.

The title comes from the closing in all of Patsy's letters to Louise - "Love always, Patsy Cline." Complete with humor and true emotion, this show includes many of Patsy's unforgettable hits such as "Crazy," "I Fall to Pieces," "Sweet Dreams" and "Walking After Midnight." It will be directed by Brian Russell.

Up next, the Chicagoland premiere of the heartwarming comedy, "Making God Laugh," which tells the story of the bonds that unite a quirky family and running May 3 through June 10. Chicago native Sean Grennan introduces his newest work produced in association with First FolioTheatre. The play is inspired by the Woody Allen joke, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

The play centers on a couple of empty nesters welcoming home their three children over various holidays spanning three decades. As the parents and grown children deal with each of their evolving lives, audiences get a glimpse inside their dreams, unresolved issues, old family traditions, and of course, dubious holiday recipes. The cast includes Chicago favorites Peggy Roeder, Craig Spidle, Joe Foust and Erin Noel Grennan.

Then, get the plant food ready, because the musical "Little Shop of Horrors" is going to dominate the stage with the love story of Seymour, an assistant florist, and his beloved Audrey, the blood thirsty plant that enslaves him from July 12 through Aug. 19. Stacey Flaster will direct.

Fall is welcomed by "42nd Street," the heart pounding, foot stomping song and tap extravaganza about the starstruck understudy and her hunger for the spotlight, which will run Sept. 13 through Oct. 21.

And just in time for the holidays, it's "Plaid Tidings," the holiday-themed sequel to the record breaking musical "Forever Plaid," playing Nov. 15 through Dec. 23. It's about the love the famed singing group The Plaids, have for performing for the season of glad tidings, with a hilarious tribute to Ed Sullivan's Christmas variety show with even a nod to the man behind all of the TV Christmas specials: Perry Como.

Season subscriptions are available for $150 and go on sale Oct. 10. Individual ticket prices for 2012 range from $38 to $42 and go on sale Dec. 13. To purchase tickets, call (219) 836-3255 or visit

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.