"I grew up with this music," said Holladay, a Taylorsville resident who performs locally with the jazz ensemble, The Blue Hills Trio. "My dad is a huge country music fan. To be able to step into her shoes, and they are massive shoes to fill, it's amazing. She had such power in her voice and she was the first country-pop crossover star. So she wasn't just a country music star, she was a pop star."
Written by Ted Swindley in the 1990s, "Always ... Patsy Cline" is based on the true story of Cline's friendship with one of her fans, Louise Seger, and their correspondence prior to the singer's death in 1963. The title of the musical reflects the way Cline -- who died at 30 in a plane crash -- signed her letters to Seger during the two-year period.
"The play is about Patsy Cline's biggest fan. Her name is Louise and she hears Patsy on a TV show one Saturday morning and falls in love with her music and drives the local DJ crazy getting him to play her favorite songs over and over again," Holladay said, adding Karen Reutz will play Louise Seger in the StageWorks production that opens Friday. "He tells her that she's actually coming to Houston to perform at a honky tonk and she drags all her friends over there and actually gets to meet Patsy and becomes friends.
"They exchange letters through the years so she's actually telling Patsy's story with her words, then I come on and sing the story. They just became really good friends. Patsy was just a real down-to-earth gutsy girl. She knew what she wanted and she went out there and did it."
Directed locally by Leslie McCrary, co-founder of StageWorks, "Always ... Patsy Cline" is going to be presented at The Grand Theatre -- 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville -- Sept. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. Along with Holladay and Reutz, the play also features the music of Bruce McLeod, Brian McLeod, Steve Shinall and Tony Yardley. Among the 27 songs of Cline's that Holladay plans to sing are the classic hits "Crazy," "I Fall to Pieces" and "Sweet Dreams."
"The chemistry between the two actresses is amazing," McCrary said. "You can tell that they're really good friends off stage as well as on-stage and they have a great time with these roles that they're playing. Actually, Karen Reutz brought the project to me and said she would love to do this. We had worked with Patti before and of course knew Patti had this marvelous voice.
"We've been trying to do this play in Cartersville for two or three years now but it's been playing all around us and we were just able to do it this year. ... It's one of those plays that are timeless. There's always going to be Patsy Cline fans because some of her music is going to always be around. I think that audiences will just keep coming to see it because it's a good story. It's a good story about friendship and it's a good story about an entertainer that left her mark on all of us."
Tickets for "Always ... Patsy Cline" are $20 in advance and $22 per person at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 770-386-7343 or visit The Grand Theatre's Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.