Photo courtesy of Rob Harris Photography. Heather Krueger is a graduate of Bloomingdale High School and the cur- rent star of Always Patsy Cline at the Jaeb Theater.

Heather Krueger can sing and when I say sing, I mean SING! She is currently starring in Always Patsy Cline at the Jaeb Theater at the Straz Center in Tampa.

“It feels great to be back on stage and on a stage I pretty much grew up on,” Krueger said. “The show is going great and it’s been very well received.”

Krueger graduated from Bloomingdale High School and has been performing professionally since 1992, and over the years she has starred in many musical productions all around the U.S., but she is very happy to be performing in Tampa.

“I feel truly blessed that I am able to do what I love and be able to do it in my hometown,” Krueger said.

The recent pandemic has taken its toll on the theater world. From the lights on Broadway going dark to the lights going dark at the Straz Center, many performers like Krueger were extremely worried that they would never perform again onstage in front of a live audience.

Krueger was performing in Shout at the Straz Center when the pandemic hit back in March. Shout had only been running a short time and then it had to close.

“It was a very scary feeling to think of ‘What’s next?’ or ‘Where do we go from here?’ and ‘Is theater ever going to come back?’,” Krueger said. “This is my career I built my whole life around and now how do I start over? It’s been a stressful six months, to say the least.”

When Krueger got the call to be in Always Patsy Cline, she was ecstatic.

“I couldn’t wait for rehearsals to begin,” Krueger said. “It was sad when we walked back into the theater for rehearsal for the show because the set for Shout was still up and everything was how we left it back in March. It was like time stood still.”

Krueger hopes the Straz Center and other theaters continue to reopen so performers can do what they love and theatergoers can support the arts.

“I’m thrilled this is the first show back at the Jaeb and hope this can become a trend with small live shows coming back into the theater.”

To see Krueger perform as Patsy Cline in Always Patsy Cline, purchase tickets at the Straz Center website, www.strazcenter.org. The show runs until Sunday, December 6.