Stage & Dance

'Always ... Patsy Cline' to go on despite ailing lead actress

Heather Parrish, left, who plays Patsy Cline, has inflamed and swollen nodules on her vocal cords. Melissa Wilkeson is at right.
Heather Parrish, left, who plays Patsy Cline, has inflamed and swollen nodules on her vocal cords. Melissa Wilkeson is at right. Herald-Leader

Studio Players' revival of its 2009 smash Always ... Patsy Cline will go on as scheduled, although a different woman will temporarily step in for the ailing actress cast in the title role.

Show star Heather Parrish, who plays Cline, has inflamed and swollen nodules on each side of her vocal cords. The ailment knocked her out of the show halfway through the opening weekend.

Last Saturday night's performance was canceled. On Sunday, Maysville actress Barbara Zweigart was onstage, performing the same role she had played several years ago for the Maysville Players.

According to Zweigart's Facebook page on Sunday, she "got a call at 8:30 this morning asking if I could be in Lexington at 11 to do a show that I haven't done in almost five years."

Opposite both Parrish and Zweigart in those previous productions and the current show was Melissa Wilkeson as Cline's biggest fan, Louise Seger.

By all accounts, Zweigart didn't miss a step in returning to the role after a quick blocking rehearsal Sunday morning.

Always ... Patsy Cline, written by Ted Swindley, features the two women and a five-piece band and tells the true story of the late country music legend, famous for songs including I Fall to Pieces, Crazy and Sweet Dreams, and her friendship with a Houston fan.

After a visit with a doctor on Tuesday, Parrish wrote to her fellow cast members that she will start a vocal therapy program and intends to return July 25.

Always ... Patsy Cline is scheduled to continue through Aug. 4.

Audiences coming to this week's performances, Thursday through Sunday, will see Zweigart, whom Studio board member Bob Singleton said is available for the rest of the run if needed.

Singleton said the theater's board will determine whether there will be a make-up performance for last weekend's canceled show.

Singleton said he thinks the theater has been in contact with everyone who had tickets to Saturday's show, but if they missed anyone, he said, they should contact the theater.

Parrish received a rave review for her performance from Herald-Leader contributing theater critic Candace Chaney, as did Wilkeson.


'Always ... Patsy Cline'

What: Studio Players' revival of its hit 2009 production of Ted Swindley's musical

When: 8 p.m. July 18-20, 25-27, Aug. 1-3; and 2:30 p.m. July 14, 21, 28, Aug. 4.

Where: Carriage House Theatre, 154 W. Bell Ct.

Tickets: $21. Available at (859) 257-4929 or

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