When Laura Teasdale left Antigonish for Quebec 25 years ago to attend theatre school, she never imagined the crazy characters she would get to play and the amazing places she would see.
But by far her biggest surprise was that she would find herself walking down the street and have people shout, ‘Howdy, Patsy Cline,’ on a daily basis.
That’s the case, and the real kicker was when she fell in love with Hank Williams.
Teasdale and her friend, Ralph Steiner, are well-known throughout Quebec as top-notch Cline and Williams imitators.
For the first time, they are bringing their musical memoir and tribute show to Nova Scotia.
In this true story, two actors are hired to play the country music icons. Fate crosses their paths and they fall in – and then out of – love with each other.
Their stories are revealed through the eyes of two passionate actors learning to portray them.
The classic tunes they love so dearly are mingled with other personal favourites that come out of Steiner and Teasdale’s true stories.
The audience gets a glimpse into their lives, but also the musical romance that blossoms back stage at campfire jams and gigs.
The show is funny, personal and touching, as the true stories of the legends intertwines with the story of their rocky relationship.
It is a testament to the power of great music to bring people together and tear their hearts apart.
Teasdale, who wrote the show, said she has longed to move back home with her family, but she isn’t sure on how to bring her two lives together.
“I have my theatre family in Quebec, where I have been fortunate to work a lot and be acknowledged, but here it’s my real family, where I’m just the youngest in a big, loving, talented and quirky gang,” she said.
“I need to begin bringing my other life here so I can spend more time home with Mom and Dad.”
Teasdale, an acclaimed actor, singer and playwright, brought her play Home Child to Nova Scotia last summer.
Steiner, a super-talented singer/musician, grew up on a dairy farm in Quebec.
He trained as a theatre technician and set carpenter, but his extraordinary abilities kept directors inviting him onstage so he ended up spending just as much time there as behind the scenes.
His down-to-earth style and connection to the farming community made theatre fans out of countless people, who wouldn’t have become patrons, if it weren’t for him.
He is a celebrity in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, where literally everyone knows his name, and also calls him ‘Hank.’
Teasdale and Steiner crossed paths as they were both learning to play the roles of Cline and Williams.
Romance seemed inevitable, but so did the heartbreak that goes hand-in-hand with country music.
“Usually we perform these songs with a big band, but this show is more intimate with just the two of us making fun of ourselves and our crazy relationship,” she said.
In co-operation with Theatre Antigonish, the duo is bringing their show to the Bauer Theatre this weekend.
Being Hank and Patsy will take centre stage Friday (Jan. 12) and Saturday (Jan. 13), at 7:30 p.m., in St. F.X.’s Bauer Theatre.
Tickets, which are $20, are available at Antigonish 5¢ to $1 store or by calling 902-863-0064.