by Mary Donofrio
Imagine you had the chance to meet your idol, and after that meeting, a lasting relationship was formed. That’s exactly what happened to Louise Seger, Patsy Cline’s biggest fan, when she went to see the music legend perform at Houston’s Esquire Ballroom in 1961. Cline’s and Seger’s first meeting sparked a connection that would remain strong for the rest of the songstress’ life. Always…Pasty Cline tells that story—the story of an unlikely connection—inspired by Seger’s real-life interviews and nostalgic reminiscences. Featuring such timeless hits as “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “Crazy,” She’s Got You,” and more, Always…Pasty Cline by Ted Swindley captures the birth of the Nashville sound, and honors the power of music to connect us all.
Patsy Cline is not just an icon – she was also a pioneer for women in music, especially country music. As one of the first female headliners, she helped pave the way for many of the female music stars we know and love today.
In fact, Cline became so well-respected in the industry that instead of being introduced as “Pretty Miss Patsy Cline,” as her many of her female contemporaries often were, she was given a more stately introduction such as the one given by Johnny Cash on their 1962 tour, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The One and Only – Patsy Cline.”
A woman of firsts, in December 1962, she was the first woman in country music to headline a show in Las Vegas. She was also the first woman in country music to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and later became the first female solo artist inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973. The plaque from her induction reads, “Her heritage of timeless recordings is testimony to her artistic capacity.”
Returning to FST in the role of Louise Seger, Cline’s biggest fan, is audience favorite Susan Greenhill. Susan’s most recent FST credits include The Exonerated, Chapatti, Becoming Dr. Ruth, and The Savannah Disputation.
As Louise, Greenhill is looking forward to the challenge of playing a character based on a real person, as she did in FST’s 2014 Summer Mainstage production of Becoming Dr. Ruth. “Playing a real person for me involves more research,” said Greenhill. “How does the person speak? What do they look like? What is their personal history? Then I make choices as to what to use in my performance and what to leave out.”
Playing the role of Patsy Cline is Meredith Jones, who last appeared in FST’s 2016-2017 Cabaret season in Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. “For me, this is my first time playing a real character.” shared Jones. “I think instantly, the stakes are raised. You have to live up to the standard that people hold for this person, and do them justice. You instantly feel the weight of that, but you also get to learn and watch that real person to help you with your performance!”
In the Director’s chair for this Summer Mainstage opener is Kate Alexander. “Patsy Cline courageously takes us to places of love and loss we never knew we possessed,” said Alexander. “She is timeless.”
The band features Musical Director Dr. Justin P. Cowan on piano, Skip Ellis on Steel and Rhythm Guitar who appeared in the 2008 FST production of Always…Pasty Cline, Chuck Davis on Bass Guitar, and Tony Bruno on the Drums.