UW Alumna Returns for Lead Role in ‘Always … Patsy Cline’
Lindsay Cozzens has been a vocalist since the age of 12. She was trained in opera, with polishing at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and a year at Ohio’s prestigious Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
But she counts her time as a theater major at the University of Wyoming among the highlights of her performing arts career.
“I loved it here,” says Cozzens who, since graduating from UW in 2005, has lived in New York in pursuit of her dream to make it on Broadway. “I got to do things that I wouldn’t have just about anywhere else. I had the opportunity to act in lots of roles and work with some great instructors.”
Cozzens has returned to UW to play the role of country music legend Patsy Cline in the Snowy Range Summer Theatre production of “Always … Patsy Cline,” which opens tonight (Tuesday) on the UW Fine Arts main stage. She stars along with one of her former instructors, UW Professor Lou Anne Wright, and has reunited with musical director Sean Warren Stone, another UW alumnus. Guest artist Charlotte Guyette is the director.
“It’s great to be back,” Cozzens says. “This is a role I’ve always wanted to do.”
“Always … Patsy Cline” first opened in 1993, became a sold-out hit off-Broadway, and is now one of the country’s most-produced musicals. The show recounts the real-life relationship between Cline and Louise Seger, her No. 1 fan, until Cline’s death in a plane crash in 1963.
It may seem odd for an operatically trained vocalist to sing classic country songs such as “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces,” but Cozzens says it’s not really a departure. That’s because she decided during her time at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music that “opera wasn’t where my heart was.” Since then, she has gravitated toward jazz, blues and country music, finding it “more fun, more lighthearted.”
The opportunity to play Cline, known as “one of the greatest country vocalists of all time,” is a privilege, Cozzens says. “In addition to being such an iconic, tragic figure -- like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Buddy Holly -- she was known as such a sweetheart. To be able to see her as a person in moments is really cool.”
Cozzens says the Patsy Cline role fits within her repertoire, which generally includes characters who are older women. While she has yet to hit it big as an actress in New York, she still has her hopes set on Broadway, and aging won’t hurt her chances.
“In some ways, I’m waiting to get older so I’m right for my roles,” she says.
After moving to New York, she worked three seasons on Disney Cruise Lines, playing the role of villains from Disney movies. She also had the lead role in Stone’s thesis project at New York University.
After this week’s run of “Always … Patsy Cline,” Cozzens -- daughter of UW Dean of Students Dave Cozzens -- will return to the Big Apple and continue working and auditioning. In addition to stage acting and singing opportunities, she’s interested in doing voice-over, film and TV work. She’s also considering graduate school.
Cozzens is grateful for the launching pad provided by UW’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and is happy to contribute to the Snowy Range Summer Theatre.
“It’s a great theater department,” she says.
“Always … Patsy Cline” runs nightly through Saturday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets costs $10 for the public and $7 for students, senior citizens and children over 5. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. For tickets and information, visit the Wyoming Union information desk or Fine Arts box office, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
Lindsay Cozzens, 2005 University of Wyoming graduate, plays the lead role in the Snowy Range Summer Theatre production of “Always … Patsy Cline” this week. (UW Photo)