Inside JCPRD: Two brilliant actresses bring the story of Patsy Cline to life onstage at Theatre in the Park!

By Tim Bair Hi, TIP Family! It’s hard to believe that it’s almost October already. Feels like our summer season was just a minute ago! BUT NOW… it’s time to

By Tim Bair

Hi, TIP Family!

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost October already. Feels like our summer season was just a minute ago! BUT NOW… it’s time to move inside for our INDOOR season! We are so happy we get to present “Always… Patsy Cline” beginning on Sept. 30.

You’re likely to know the name if you were around in the 50s and 60s (or a little later!) Many would say, and it is arguably true… that she was one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century! She died much too early after a pretty short recording career of only about eight years or so, and was the first female performer to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Patsy was a force.

In our upcoming production of “Always… Patsy Cline,” two actresses take the stage to tell a very sweet story about Patsy and her long-time friend and fan Louise Seger. Stasha Case portrays Louise, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death. And Krista Eyler plays Patsy. Both actresses have been on stage at TIP many times and are truly members of the family.

I thought it would be fun to ask them both some questions and let YOU all get to know them a little and see what they love about this show!

Enjoy! (oh… we look forward to seeing you at the show!)

Tim Bair

Producing Artistic Director, Theatre in the Park

Krista Eyler (left) as Patsy Cline and Stasha Case as the county music legend’s friend Louise Seger rehearsed recently for the Theatre in the Park’s indoor production of “Always…. Patsy Cline” at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

Hello Ladies!

How about answering a few questions for our TIP friends? Here we go…

TIP: You’ve both done this show before… and together!

Tell me about what drew you to want to do it again! 

  • Krista: The chance to sing her music again was the major draw for me. When else does a singer get to perform 27 songs of an adored catalogue of music? I also love working with my partner in rhyme, Director Barb Nichols, and thought this would be another fun journey together. 
  • Stasha: This is my ninth time reviving the the character of Louise Seger – in fact we shared the same birthday of May 31. I have become so very fond of her. The first time I played her was in 2005, just a year after she passed away. More than that, what I love about this show is that I get to interact with the audience. There is no fourth wall for me, and I enjoy telling them Louise’s story SO much. I have a little bit of my Aunt Irene in me when I recount the events of her relationship with Patsy. Plus, Krista’s awesome. When she said she was going to audition, I decided for sure that I was going to audition, too.

TIP: Prior to doing this show (the first time…) tell me about your knowledge of Patsy. Were you a fan? Any favorite tunes?

  • Krista: I have been a Patsy fan for many years. I first got to portray her in this show in 2005, and at that time, I dug deeply into researching her life and music. It only made me love her more! My favorite tunes to sing are “Lovesick Blues” and probably “Crazy,” because the audience reaction to them is so lovely. 
  • Stasha: I was familiar with who Patsy Cline was, knew a couple of her songs and knew that she had died at the age of 30 in a plane crash, but I didn’t have any of her records. I just knew she was a legendary country singer.

TIP: Is there a favorite moment in the show for you?

  • Krista: I love the moments when I get to interact with Stasha. She and I have shared the stage many times, and I am always honored to be around her. It is always a joy!
  • Stasha: I really like the top of Act 2, when I just get to sit and listen to Krista sing. It is easy to look like an adoring fan. I also like the part when I take her to the radio station and surprise the heck out of Hal Harris!

TIP: Had any pen pals in your life?

  • Krista: My husband and I wrote letters to each other when we were first dating (25 years ago!), and I still have them! Precious artifacts of young love. 
  • Stasha: I have not!

TIP: Any anecdotes you can recall that you’d like to share about previous time/s you’ve done the show?

  • Krista: I am always amazed at the response of the audience once I start singing her songs. They sigh, they cry, they sing along. Those songs hold a special place in time for many people and I am fully aware of that as I sing. You are singing people’s memories. It is a special experience. Years ago, my family got me an actual Patsy autograph as a break-a-leg gift. (I kept it in my pocket at callbacks for luck!)
  • Stasha: It is VERY VERY hard for Krista and I to be serious. When we performed it at the Chestnut, we got in trouble all the time for goofing off. Unfortunately for Barb, Don and Ashley, [Director, Stage Manager and Music Director] that hasn’t changed AT ALL.

TIP: Patsy was so popular in her time… who would compare to her in the world of female artists of our time?

  • Krista: Versatility-wise, I would compare Patsy (in her genre) to Whitney Houston or Celine Dion. She was a singular talent. 
  • Stasha: Not sure what “our time” is (wink wink), but maybe Whitney Houston? I don’t really follow country music though, so I don’t who it might be over there!

TIP: What did you learn about Patsy that you didn’t already know the first time you performed in the show?

  • Krista: She was a prolific letter-writer to many of her fans and friends. She really revealed her true heart in those letters, and I believe I have read most of those that have been published. It lends such insight as I am portraying her. 
  • Stasha: I didn’t know that Patsy had been married before her marriage to Charlie Dick. I didn’t know that she was supposed to sing a song other than “Walkin’ After Midnight” on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts television show (near the beginning of her career) and that Decca had to rush release of the song afterwards to keep up with public demand!

“Always… Patsy Cline” opens this Friday, Sept. 30 and runs through Oct. 16. Tickets are on sale NOW at Showtime is 7:30 p.m. for evening performances and 2 p.m. for matinees. Performances take place in The Black Box Theatre inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center at 8788 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park.

Join us! We’ll be VERY happy to see you!