Whether you’re a huge fan of Buddy Holly or someone who only knows him for his glasses and a few of his most popular songs, there’s a good chance you’ll find something to love (and something to learn) in North Carolina Theatre’s production of Buddy- The Buddy Holly Story, directed and choreographed to perfection by DJ Salisbury.
The story chronicles Buddy (James Barry) and crew as they make their start (and eventually soar to great heights) in the music world. The early scenes do a great job of showcasing Holly’s stubbornness, bravery, and unwillingness to compromise when it comes to his musical style. In particular, Buddy’s interactions with Hipockets Duncan (Matt Allen), a local DJ who believes in Holly as much as he is frustrated by him, offer a lot of insight into Buddy’s character and passion. Also, the two share an endearing father-son type chemistry onstage that’s fun to watch.
And speaking of chemistry, Buddy and his Cricket band-mates have plenty of it. The playful interactions between Buddy, Jerry (Zach Cossman), and Joe (Sam Sherwood) add a lot of warmth to the factual first act and easily make these the kind of characters the audience cares about.
The first act chronicles The Crickets as they find their niche and rise to fame, and it’s full of lots of wonderful, classic songs, presented beautifully under Angela C. Howell’s musical direction. The second act focuses in on Buddy as he falls in love, gets married, and strikes out on his own as a musician. It too is filled with classic songs, and unfortunately, a somber-but-true ending.
Barry is spot-on in his portrayal of the musical legend, and he creates a Buddy Holly who is likable and intriguing. He’s backed by a strong supporting cast, and, without a hitch in sight, the show flies by all too quickly.
Despite the story’s sad and inevitable end, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story really is a testament to the musical genius of Holly, and even those not familiar with him or his music will be impressed and will enjoy this up-close look at his life. And, absolutely everyone can get into this music, presented so well here that it’s almost like transporting back in time and attending a Crickets show live. Half biography and half musical tribute, this show is 100% perfect.
The North Carolina Theatre presents BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY at 7:30 p.m. July 21-24 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. July 25 and 26 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or http://www.nctheatre.com/show-season/201415-season.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/803583.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 6949; firstname.lastname@example.org; or http://www.nctheatre.com/page/groups.
SHOW: http://www.nctheatre.com/shows/the-buddy-holly-story and https://www.facebook.com/events/382216781964250/.
PRESENTER: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.
2014-15 SEASON: http://www.nctheatre.com/2015-shows.
NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, July 25th, performance.
Buddy Holly (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter, nee Charles Hardin Holley, 1936-59): http://rockhall.com/inductees/buddy-holly/ (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. bio), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=11875 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Holly (Wikipedia).
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (1989 West End and 1990 Broadway musical): http://www.buddythemusical.com/ (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=2280 (Internet Broadway Database), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_%E2%80%93_The_Buddy_Holly_Story (Wikipedia).
Alan Janes (book): http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=3944 (Internet Broadway Database).
DJ Salisbury (NCT guest director and choreographer): http://www.djsalisbury.com/index.html (official website).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.