This is the story of Buddy Holly, an American music legend. Buddy was born on September 7, 1936 in Lubbock, Texas. Early in his career, the young musician was met with resistance as radio stations wanted to hear country and not this new sound, called rock and roll. This is just like the issues that the DJ in Memphis faces as he tries to play rock and roll on the radio in Tennessee. In order to perform and record his music, Buddy traveled to New Mexico to meet with Norman Petty to produce his music. It is there that Buddy recorded most of his iconic songs.
The play foreshadows his upcoming death by his wife saying she dreamed of a fireball in the sky. They also talk about the crazy blizzard happening on that fateful night. It leads up to the radio DJ announcing his death on February 3, 1959. The show then immediately launches into a loud rocking song and the audience isn’t given time to process his death. The transition is too abrupt, just like in You Got Older. A slow sad song would have been a better choice. “American Pie” by Don McLean, which is about this tragic accident, would be perfect and would have allowed the audience a chance to grieve the loss of this talented musician.
The cast is fantastically talented. The acting and musical talent is exceptional. Zachary Stevenson plays Buddy Holly perfectly. The actor nails his guitar playing and his vocal style. Shaun Whitley (Million Dollar Quartet) is solid as one of the Crickets. It’s a very exciting moment when he stands on his standup bass while playing it. Ian Paul Custer (The Columnist, Little Shop of Horrors) is a delight as the radio DJ.
The music is absolutely excellent. Performances include “That’ll Be the Day”, “Peggy Sue”, and “Everyday” by Buddy Holly. Also included are “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens and “Chantilly Lace” by The Big Bopper, the two other musicians that died on that tragic flight.
Get tickets now for Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story through May 26th!
Also, see our review American Blues Theatre’s past production, Six Corners, here.