Director Tonda-Leah Fields and actor Heather Parrish are quick to say that Always ... Patsy Cline is a two-woman show.
"She does most of the talking, and man, it's a lot of lines," Parrish, who plays Cline, says of Louise, the Houston woman whose relationship with the late country legend is the basis for the musical.
As much as Parrish wanted to play Cline, Lexington actor Melissa Rae Wilkeson has wanted to play Louise for more than a decade.
The Lexington Catholic and University of Kentucky graduate had just moved to Florida, preparing to start a year at the Burt Reynolds Institute of Theater Training and Dinner Theater in Jupiter. Her aunt Madonna had just seen Always and told her niece she had to see it, too.
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"I said, 'Somehow, some way, I will play that part," Wilkeson recalled thinking of Louise after seeing Always. "Any time anyone asked me what plays to do, I'd say, Always ... Patsy Cline!"
Wilkeson says she was drawn to the show because "it's about a friendship, and that always speaks to me. Relationships drive any piece of theater, and this is between her and her idol."
The role was a big enough deal to Wilkeson that she was willing to dive in, even though she had just done three consecutive plays in the area, including playing Aunt Eller in Woodford Theatre's Oklahoma!
"It was one of my dream roles," Wilkeson says, "and you don't get those chances often."