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The curtains go up in Half Moon Bay this weekend

Late for deadlines for the Arts page but we wanted to get this in, in time for the curtains to rise:

It’s curtain time in Half Moon Bay: “We Are the Children of Abraham” returning for a second year, promotes unity among differing backgrounds, and “Always … Patsy Cline,” the second show of Coastal Repertory Theatre’s 2009-2010 season, offers an affectionate portrait of the legendary country icon with lots of her music.

The point of “Abraham,” said playwright Gail Erwin, is commonality. “Everything I see in the news is about people shouting at each other, fighting each other, bombing each other. But I’m struck by the similarity of things we all hold sacred.”

Its story centers on Jewish, Christian and Muslim tourists climbing Mount Sinai, a sacred place for all, seeking to resolve their differences by acting out their traditions.

“We’re not only the same species, we have stronger connections than most people believe,” said Charles Jordan, who plays a Jew.

“It’s been nice for all of us because we learned about other faiths,” said Don Carey, who plays a Muslim.

Rebecca Newlin plays a Christian mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who erupts at the Muslim travelers. “I start realizing, gosh, they’re people like you and I.”

Actor Storm Russell knows about differences. “I appreciate the (play’s) message that we all are actually more alike than different and we have many important roots we share.”

“We Are the Children of Abraham” runs at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5 and Saturday, Feb. 6, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, at the Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes St. in Half Moon Bay. Admission is free but donations will go to the Coastside Jewish Community, the “Give Light” Muslim foundation and the Methodist church. There will be no aftershow discussions this year, but Erwin hopes viewers start their own dialogs. Call her at 728-7821.

Music and heartfelt warmth fuels “Always … Patsy Cline,” opening Friday for a four-weekend run.

The Coastal Rep stage is remade with century-old planks into a cavernous club where the meltingly emotive voice of Miramar contralto Catie Chase of Getaways fame channels Cline in classics like “Back in Baby’s Arms,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “I’ve Got Your Picture, She’s Got You,” “Crazy” and more.

Chase calls it “surreal” that she grew up singing Cline’s songs and now tries to “channel Patsy so it sounds like her” with her own touch to Cline’s throaty warmth. Her story is told through the eyes of Louise Steger (Roxane Ashe) who shares a warm, sister-like and all-too-brief rapport with Cline over a memorable time. “I think we all look for something in life that gives it special meaning,” Ashe said.

Director Michael Lederman predicts “you’re gonna see a lot of smiles, a lot of head-bopping and toe-tapping.”

The stellar live band includes bassist Pat Campbell who recorded with the Good Ol’ Boys; guitarist Mark Holzinger who has played at Fillmore Auditorium, Warfield Theatre and Concord Pavilion; fiddler Brantley Kearns who played with David Bromberg, Bobbie Gentry, Jim Stafford and Dwight Yoakum; drummer Tim Siefert with a background on cruise lines; keyboardist Steve Shufton who played with Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, David Nelson and more and pedal steel player Charlie Wallace who has worked with Johnny Paycheck.

“Always .... Patsy Cline” runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 27. Tickets range from $15 to $35. Call 569-3266.


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