Vocal ailment sidelines ‘Patsy Cline’ actress

All the pieces seemed to be in place for this weekend’s sold out performances of Always … Patsy Cline at Studio Players, a revival of the theater’s best-selling production ever with its original cast. But then biology intervened, and the weekend turned into a theatrical and emotional roller coaster.

Melissa Wilkeson and Barbara Zweigart backstage at Studio Players Sunday.

Melissa Wilkeson and Barbara Zweigart backstage at Studio Players Sunday.

Show star Heather Parrish, who plays Patsy Cline, developed “acute laryngitis and it is believed I may have either a hemorrhaged vocal chord or polyps,” she wrote on her Facebook page Sunday. Saturday night’s performance was canceled. Sunday, Maysville actress Barbara Zweigart was onstage, performing the same roll she had played several years ago for the Maysville Players.

According to her Facebook 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 this current show was Melissa Wilkeson as Patsy’s biggest fan, Louise Seger.

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

And audiences coming to this week’s performances, Thursday through Sunday, will see Zweigart, who Studio board member Bob Singleton said is available for the rest of the run if Parrish is unable to return. Parrish is scheduled to see a specialist Tuesday, and Singleton said once the board has word from the doctor, it will determine how the rest of the production will proceed, including whether there will be a makeup performance for the one that was canceled Saturday.

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

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


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