The Roxy Regional Theatre is now showing Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story. I attended the opening nights show and here is my review of the production.
I walked into the theatre and was immediately transported through time to the late 1950’s by this incredible Amber Wallace set. I have never been disappointed with any Roxy set, but my favorites are all Amber Wallace’s creations. Her best work in my opinion, was the sets that she did for last years Miss Saigon and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
This show covers Buddy Holly’s life from his rise to success in 1957 to his death in the 1959 plane crash which also took the lives of Rock and Roll legends Ritchie Valens and J. P. Richardson who was also know as the Big Bopper. This plane crash was immortalized in the Don Mclean song American Pie.
“The Day the Music Died” (February 3, 1959), was the day of the plane crash that killed three popular American rock and roll musicians. Early that morning, at approximately 1:05 AM Central Standard Time, an airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson crashed in a farmer’s field en route to a concert near Fargo, North Dakota, killing all three performers as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. Don McLean’s 1971 song, “American Pie,” contains many references to this day, including the phrase itself. – Wikipedia
The actors were all exquisitely cast for their roles.
Jody Evans, formerly of Nashville Stars played Buddy Holly. Jody’s appearance, voice, and style of playing was Buddy Holly. He successfully brings off Buddy Holly’s esoteric combination of nerdy appearance and rock star coolness.
Meeting Jody after the show I can truthfully say, he is gracious and a gentleman in the true sense of the word. Someone who always tries to ensure that the people around him are as comfortable as possible.
As a child growing up in Arkansas, Jody Evans was rocked to sleep to the music of Elvis Presley. When other kids wanted to be football heroes or whatever, he wanted to be Elvis. He wore suits and ties to school to emulate another hero, Clark Kent. He was branded a nerd because he wore glasses.
At ten years old his mother took him to see the movie ‘La Bamba’ and even though he was taken with the story of Ritchie Valens the real thrill came towards the end when Buddy Holly (played by Marshall Crenshaw) came on the scene. He was impressed at the man who wore a suit and tie and glasses, how he sung and played so good.
By the age of twelve he knew music was all he ever wanted to do. So, he got a job and saved money to buy his first guitar, a 1966 Fender Mustang. A friend showed him A, D, and E chords enabling him to learn and play nearly every Buddy Holly song in the world.
At fifteen he started his first band and began playing talent shows or wherever there was a stage he could get on. One of these talent shows took him to Memphis where the owner of Sun Studios saw Jody and asked him if he would like to make a record. The only problem was Jody had no original material. He asked to be given a week and in the next five days wrote his first six songs. Soon after he found himself recording where his first hero had started.
It was these recordings that captured the attention of Dale Hawkins (Suzy Q 1957), who proclaimed Jody the best songwriter he ever heard and Pete Anderson (producer & guitarist Dwight Yoakam), who after hearing Jody’s recordings and seeing a tape of his live performance exclaimed, “If Jody Evans played Berlin tonight they would be rioting in the streets”.
Untarnished and undiscovered, Jody Evans is living proof that Rock ‘n Roll music still exists the way its inventors meant it to be. – From the Jody Evans web site.
I want to say that after hearing Jody Evans perform in this show, he has earned a permanent place on my iPod’s playlists. If you are interested in sampling his excellent music, he makes several songs available for download in MP3 format on his web site and there are also a couple of songs on his Myspace page.
Accompanying Buddy Holly as the Crickets were Jimmy Bishop (Bass, Joe B. Maudlin), Joshua Smith (Drums, Jerry Allison), and John Winters (Guitar, Niki Sullivan).
Jimmy Bishop has been a favorite of mine ever since his first appearance in a Roxy Production in “A Year with Frog and Toad”. He shined in the recently completed run of the Graduate where he played Mr Robinson. In Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story his performance realistically conveys to you the vibe of a rock and roll star.
Joshua Smith is an APSU student and a heck of a musician. This was his theatrical debut, that being said handled his drum sticks with a professionals flair.
John Winters was an excellent backup for Jody Evans. That being said, I am sure that I have seen him somewhere else in the past. Since he is a professional musician and has opened for many big name groups, that is very likely.
There were other characters in this show besides Buddy Holly and the Crickets,
Philip Ocampo plays an engineer (for the second time at the Roxy) and the role of Ritchie Valens which is the role most people will likely take home with them. One thing I can say for Philip is that he brings a sense of fun into all of his roles. His portrayal of Ritchie Valens is no exception. I will not spoil the show for you by describing his character here, you will just have to go see it for your self. I will say that I missed Philip when he left us after Miss Saigon. I am glad he has returned.
Jayson Elliott is a bit younger than J. P. Richardson was at the time of his death, but that did not detract from his performance. His costumes could have come right out of the Big Bopper’s wardrobe. This was his Roxy debut and I hope to see him in future shows to get a better feel for his talents.
Ted Kitterman, Humberto Figueroa, and Mariah Wolitski, are young actors and frequent performers at the Roxy and in this show they handle roles of several disc jockeys and old time radio ad singers. Mariah also handles the role of Peggy Sue.
Hannah Carmona plays Maria Elena Santiago, the Puerto Rican receptionist of Buddy’s record publisher, after a courtship lasting roughly five hour he proposed to her. Hannah is a talented young actress and a budding beauty with a smile that I bet can break a young man’s heart.
Greg Williamson returns to the Roxy stage as Norman Petty, a record producer from Clovis New Mexico. He won this years Monte award. In Bye Bye Birdie he played the mayor of the town and was backed up by the lovely Julie Ross who returns in this show as Vi, Norman Petty’s wife. My all time favorite role of Greg’s would be his performance of Cogsworth in the Roxy production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Rick Hurst returns for his second Roxy run, his first was as the bartender Maude in Bye Bye Birdie, In this show he plays Hipockets Duncan, an exuberant radio DJ from Buddy’s home town of Lubbock Texas. Rick pulls off his role with the “air of authority” and “keen sense of humour” that the creators of this show intended it to have.
Last but certainly not the least is the very talented Koral Rose Curkeet. she played a performer at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. She appeared in Bye Bye Birdie, but this is the first time we have had the chance to hear her sing. Her voice is rich and powerful, anyone who hears her sing can not help but to fall in love with it.
SYNOPSIS OF SCENES:
The above listed scenes are from the information
listed on http://www.buddythemusical.com/,
and may not accurately reflect the scenes in
the Roxy’s rendition of this show.
|Flower of my heart||Holly House Inc|
|Ready Teddy||Unichappell Music Inc.|
|Blue Days Black Nights||Unichappell Music Inc.|
|That’s all right||Unichappell Music Inc.|
|A teenager in love||Unichappell Music Inc.|
|That’ll be the day||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Peggy Sue||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Maybe Baby||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Not fade away||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|True love ways||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Looking for Someone to love||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Listen to me||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|It’s so easy to fall in love||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Well alright||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|When you ask about love||Acuff Rose Music Inc.|
|Words of love||MPL Comm. Inc. MPL/Wren|
|Oh boy||Wren Music Co. c/o MPL|
|Rave on||Wren Music Co. c/o MPL|
|Heartbeat||Wren Music Co. c/o MPL|
|Changing all those||Cedarwood Publishing Co.|
|Think it over||Cedarwood Publishing Co. / Southern Music Publishing Co.|
|Everyday||Southern Music Publishing Co.|
|Mailman bring me no more||Southern Music Publishing Co. / Beinstock Publishing|
|Peggy Sue got married||Southern Music Publishing Co.|
|Why do fools||Windswept Pacific Entertainment|
|Chantilly Lace||Donald Daily, Glad Music Co., Fort Knox Music Inc., Trio Music Company Inc.|
|Raining in my heart||House of Bryant Pubs. Inc.|
|It doesn’t matter anymore||Management Agency|
|Johnny B Goode||Isalee Music Co.|
|Rock around with Ollie Vee||Hill and Range Songs Inc.|
|All other songs, arrangements, and incidental music are by Paul Jury|