For the fourth time, Melissa Shepherd is bringing her rendition of the life and songs of Patsy Cline to CenterStage and it could be the last time. Charlie Dick, Cline’s second husband, who had given Shepherd permission each time to perform her one-woman Patsy Cline Show, passed away on November 8, 2015, and Shepherd is uncertain if she will be comfortable continuing to present it.
In the meantime, audiences are enjoying what may be the last time around for this much acclaimed show. Shepherd, with the assistance of her talented friend and Nashville veteran, Mike Fryman, are presenting a life and times perspective of Patsy Cline’s music and the significance of Cline’s ground-breaking career.
A glance at the playbill shows the variety of Cline’s work: Cline classics such as I Fall to Pieces, Crazy, and Walkin’ After Midnight are mixed in with early Elvis (That’s All Right, Mama); Bluegrass (Blue Moon of Kentucky); early rock and roll (Shake, Rattle and Roll); old standards (Bill Bailey, Side by Side); country heartbreakers (Your Cheatin’ Heart, Tennessee Waltz) and gospel music (Just a Closer Walk with Thee).
Patsy Cline’s heartbreaking voice seems to come from Shepherd’s mouth in poignant fashion capturing its complexity and the tragedy of its unfulfilled potential. Cline died in a plane crash near Camden, TN, on March 5, 1963. She was only 30 years old.
Patsy Cline is no longer with us, but then again she remains alive in Shepherd’s nostalgic rendering. Hopefully she will decide to continue her show, but if she doesn’t, as Patsy Cline might say if she were here, “hoss, you’re out of luck because the dang thing is sold out.”
Let’s hope there’s a next time.
Meanwhile, get your season tickets for the 2016/17 season, which begins July 7-24 with West Side Story, before it’s too late.