Letter writing has become a dying art, with email and text messaging becoming the preferred means of communication.
That wasn’t the case, however, in 1961 when country music icon Patsy Cline began exchanging letters with a woman she met at a Texas bar.
Cline and Louise Seger, who was a fan, became friends after the chance meeting and the couple corresponded until Cline’s death in 1963.
It’s this friendship and the letters forged between the women that inspired Ted Swindley to create a musical tribute to the legend titled “Always…Patsy Cline,” the phrase the star used to end each of her letters.
Described by American Theater Magazine as one of America’s most produced musicals, “Always…Patsy Cline” will be performed at the Parkside Playhouse Theater, 101 Iowa Ave. under the direction of Jim Miller, who is an active member of the Vicksburg Theater Guild.
The role of Patsy Cline is Glenda Arredondo.
This is Arredondo’s fourth time performing on “Always…Patsy Cline.”
The Vicksburg resident said she liked the role because she liked that it was based on a true story. Arredondo said she also enjoyed the energy of the show, as well as wearing all the beautiful costumes.
“I also like to sing emotional ballads and that was Patsy’s specialty,” she said.
Locals Shirley Stuart and Renee Adcock-Irons will alternate as Louise for the six scheduled performances.
“We have two extremely talented actresses sharing the role of Louise and I guarantee they will make you laugh out loud,” Arredondo said.
In addition to female performers, a live band will accompany the women.
“I’m extremely honored to have a seven-piece band with extremely talented musicians, four of whom performed this musical with me for another two years,” Arredondo said.
For this production, Arredondo said, Chris Goodin will play steel guitar.
“He’s so talented and having the steel guitar adds another layer of authenticity to the songs,” she said. “We also have a wonderful backup male quartet who sings in 13 of the show’s 27 songs.”
Arredondo said it was impossible to choose a favorite, but she liked to sing “Two Cigarettes In An Ashtray” because it showed the low register of her voice, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” because she had to do some yodeling and “Gotta Lotta Rhythm” because it showcased the group.
Cline only recorded songs for about six years, but her talent left a legacy for fans around the world, Arredondo said.
“With Patsy’s beautiful inflections and tone,” Arredondo said, Cline was able to give you a window into her soul that made listeners connect.
“It’s almost like she’s a neighbor coming in for a cup of coffee and pouring out her heart to you,” she said.
Performances of “Always…Patsy Cline” will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 13, 14, 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m. on May 15 and 22.
Arredondo said that for those who would like to see their “friend, colleague or church mate” perform, Adcock-Irons will perform in the May 13, 15 and 21 shows and Stuart in the May 14, 20 and 22 shows.
Reservations for the show are encouraged. Tickets are $20, $15 for ages 65+ and 13-18 and $10 for ages 12 and under and are available at the door or at https://showclix.com/events/10243.
Editor’s Note: The source material for “Always…Patsy Cline” is derived from four pages of Vicksburg native Ellis Nassour’s book, “Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline.”
About Terri Cowart Frazier
Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Soon after, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter for the Vicksburg Post and editor of Vicksburg Living Magazine, which was awarded first place by the Mississippi Press Association. She was also the recipient of a first place award in the editorial division of the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest for “Best Feature Article”.
Terri is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a major in public relations.
Before coming to work at the Post just over 10 years ago, she freelanced at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Terri is a member of Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a life member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and was a member of the Sampler Antique Club and the Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.
“Whether it’s staying informed about local government issues or hearing the stories of local residents, a local newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at the Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I can continue to grow and hone my skills while helping to share the stories in Vicksburg. When people ask me what I love most about my job, my answer is always “the people”.
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