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Patsy says farewell

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In the Roswell Daily Record on May 15, Maryl McNally announced that she had been accepted into the theater program at the esteemed Columbia University in New York City. McNally is one of the founding members and the outgoing president of Neverland Theatre Company. She is also a teacher at the Studio+ and an attorney. McNally is best known for her performance as legendary Patsy Cline.

The show “Always, Patsy Cline” with her as the lead, was originally performed at the Roswell Community Little Theatre in 2014. Because of its success and demand by the public, the show was picked up by Neverland Theatre Company as well as by the Spencer Theatre in Alto.

Leaving Roswell is not easy for McNally, but this chance is too good to pass on, she said. Her goal is to further her education on the business and creative side of the theater, which Columbia University offers.

“I fly out Aug. 15, orientation is the 28th and off I go,” McNally said. “It’s crazy. I got my reading list and it is about 30 books deep. I got it two weeks ago, it’s not a lot of time, but it is suggested reading and eight books are asterisks asking us to prioritize them. I am just going to try to get through that priority list first and then go to the rest — absorbing through inundation.”

McNally’s calendar is already full from the start. “I think I have five classes per week. I have my orientation and check-in at noon on Aug. 28,” she said.

“On Wednesday, it’s a full day of icebreakers, introductions and lunch with your faculty,” McNally said. “I have to go to the library and get situated there, and then I have a collaboration meeting on an entire weekend and I don’t know what that means. I think it’s a ‘let’s throw you in the deep end and all of the artists at the school of arts have to make something happen.’”

McNally said that she will miss her Roswell students most. One of them is Samantha Thorsted, who had recently won the talent competition “New Mexico’s Got Talent,” which was organized by Neverland Theatre Company at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. One of the first questions McNally was asked was if she would keep her cellphone. “I will,” McNally told her. “You can text me any time, call me.

“I keep telling everybody to come visit me, so I’ll have a little piece of Roswell in New York,” McNally said. “I will be back for Christmas. I am still an ex-officio of Neverland Theatre and I am excited to be a connection to New York City and hopefully help the company to get professional artists here for the professional artist workshops. That was my baby and I hope my legacy with Neverland — I hope I can keep that going.”

McNally’s two farewell shows — though titled “Patsy says farewell” — are more about McNally’s musical journey. “It’s really me thanking Roswell for my time here and it isn’t only a concert, it’s a one-woman show and I am telling a story,” she said. “There is a concept. My students are joining me for two numbers and are helping me out. It is going to be really fun. Boyd Barrett is joining me as well for a few songs and Ari Martinez.

“I am really telling my story with theater and how I got where I am going,” McNally said. “The songs I am singing fit into that narrative, my first exposure to musical theater and how it influenced my life up to this point.

“It will run about two hours with a few breaks. It’ll be a nice evening. If you want to do the dinner, it’s $20 and you make reservations by calling The Liberty or email (hillary@thelibertyinc.com) and the show ticket is $20 as well,” McNally said.

McNally’s last shows will be July 20 and 21, 7:30 p.m., with a lasagna dinner at 6 p.m., at The Liberty Club, 312 N. Virginia Ave. Tickets are available at holdmytickets.com, thelibertyinc.com or by calling 575-627-2121.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.