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Old Schoolhouse Players rock with ‘Always ... Patsy Cline’

March 22, 2012
By DOROTHY JANCART - Staff correspondent , The Herald-Star

HICKORY - The Bud Allison Memorial Theater, home of the Old Schoolhouse Players, is alive and well as long as Patsy Cline is in the house, and in the house she is.

With nearly a sellout crowd this past weekend, it is anticipated word-of-mouth reaction to this production will bring even more patrons to the theater located on Wabash Avenue.

Written and originally directed by Ted Swindley and based on a true novel, "Always ... Patsy Cline" will be one for the books for the OSP. Director Joe Wagner, along with music director Dennis Taylor, have recreated nothing but pure pleasure in every sense.

With only two leading characters along with a six-piece backup band, this play has produced audience reaction that hasn't been seen or heard in a long time. Laughter and joy emanates from every face as Patsy, played by Amy Doria, and Louise, played by Kathleen Leadbitter, do their magic.

The story takes place in Louise's memory of the six years she knew Patsy Cline. The first time Louise hears Patsy sing on the radio, she just knows "that gal has something special to offer." When Patsy comes to Louise's hometown of Houston to perform in a honky-tonk bar, Louise and she take a liking to each other and become pen pals until Patsy's unfortunate early demise in a plane crash six years later. Louise shares her memories of Patsy's amazing career during those years.

With dozens of songs, lead Amy Doria portraying Patsy Cline, is incredible. Close your eyes, and you would think it was the real Patsy Cline up on stage singing her heart out. Favorites such as "I Fall to Pieces," "Crazy," "Sweet Dreams" and so many more bring back timeless memories of a great singer.

"I know that there is no one that can ever truly sound like Patsy, but I just hope I can do her a little bit of justice," said Doria.

Not to be undone, veteran OSP performer Kathleen Leadbitter has a dream role as Louise. Comedic talents surface for Leadbitter, but she also dances and sings as well as narrates and does it all so effortlessly. Leadbitter is artistic director for OSP and wears many hats throughout every season.

The Bodacious Bobcats Band is very capable of accompanying Patsy and Louise on each and every selection. Dennis Taylor is music director/piano; Ben Jagger is on the drums; Jon Mounts plays violin; Michael Lehman is keyboardist; Kevin Leadbitter is on guitar; and Leo Stankus is on the bass guitar.

"Patsy is knockin' my socks off; that girl can chirp," said first time OSP theater-goer Carla Rosenberger of Burgettstown. "This is way more than I expected."

"This play is extremely well done with only two performers in the cast plus the band," said Sistie Albano of Washington. "I agree with the sign hanging over the door, 'Welcome to Broadway in the Country,'" she added.

"Always ... Patsy Cline" will be performed at 7 p.m. today and Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

For reservations or information, call (724) 344-7467 or send an e-mail to

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