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 Friday, April 7th, 2006  
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A closer walk with Leisa Way
Performer records Patsy Cline tribute

ASHLEY GOODFELLOW, Banner Staff Writer

After her staggering success portraying Patsy Cline last year at Theatre Orangeville, Leisa Way is returning to the stage as the country legend one more time on Tuesday, May 2.

The one-night-only performance will mark the release of Way's CD, Sweet Dreams -- The Music of Patsy Cline, which features 13 tracks from last-year's record-breaking musical A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline.

Although the structure of the show will differ from the Theatre Orangeville musical that closed out last season, audiences can expect Way to appear in costume for the one hour and 15 minute concert.

Recording the CD, says Way, is something she never dreamed of doing.

But after audiences demanded a longer run of the show, and at the urging of the band -- local area musicians Bob Hewus (stand-up bass) and Bruce Ley (guitars and the producer of the CD) as well as Toronto pianist/musician Michael Mulrooney and Mississauga drummer Dave Wilson -- she decided to take the plunge into the project.

"I thought, well, maybe if everybody is telling me to do this, this means I should just do it," says the Orangeville resident.

But her reasons go much deeper than success.

As a little girl, growing up in northern Ontario, she was immersed in music. Her parents would just sit around and play music -- country music, she recalls -- and they'd get her to sing for them.

Being too shy to perform in front of an audience, Way remembers she would go into another room and sing from there.

"I'd go into the kitchen and just belt it out," she laughs. "I wasn't shy when people couldn't see me."

Way says it wasn't until the Pasty musical that she really began to sing country again. This CD, her first-ever recording, is also a tribute to her late father and her mother.

"My mom and dad instilled in me that great love for all music," she says.

It's also, in part, a thank-you to Theatre Orangeville for giving her the opportunity to star in the musical, and to the band for being so supportive. That's why her May 2 performance will be a fundraiser event for the theatre.

"Being able to do that show at home, at Theatre Orangeville, surrounded by amazing support ... was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life," Way says.

In just under a year, the group managed to put together the CD. Many of the songs were recorded in one take -- just like Cline did in her day, notes Way.

She says recording music is quite a contrast from live performance, in that the songs on the CD are permanent.

"As a live performer, I do a performance and it's gone," she notes.

"But having to listen to myself over and over [on the CD] ... well, I don't sound like I thought I did. It took a lot of getting used too," she laughs.

Songs on the CD include audience favourites, I Fall to Pieces, Walkin' After Midnight, Faded Love, Bill Bailey and, of course, Cline's greatest hit, Crazy.

Jo Wright of Theatre Orangeville says tickets to the upcoming performance aren't going to last.

"We had so many people requesting an extended run for A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline," she says. "When people hear that Leisa is back to do Patsy, tickets are going to go so fast."

The evening, which begins at 7:30 p.m., will start with wine and hors d'oeuvres and will be followed by dessert and coffee and the opportunity to meet Way. The CD will also be available for purchase.

For tickets and information call 942-3423.

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