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That’ll Be the Day! The North Carolina Theatre’s Production of “Buddy” Opens on July 21st


That’ll be the day! The North Carolina Theatre‘s home-grown production of the 1989 West End and 1990 Broadway musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story will open at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21st, and run for eight performances through Sunday, July 26th, in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. One of the first “jukebox musicals,” Buddy is a tribute to the meteoric career of Lubbock, TX-born Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Buddy Holly, nee Charles Hardin Holley (1936-59), who died on Feb. 3, 1959 in a plane crash in Iowa while on tour in the Midwest.

According to the North Carolina Theatre:

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story was written by Alan Janes and tells the true story of Buddy’s rise to fame, from the moment in 1957 when ‘That’ll Be the Day’ hit the airwaves until his tragic death less than two years later on ‘The Day the Music Died.’ The show features over 20 of Holly’s greatest hits including ‘That’ll Be the Day,’ ‘Peggy Sue,’ ‘Everyday,’ ‘Oh Boy,’ ‘Not Fade Away,’ and ‘Rave On,’ plus Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’ and The Big Bopper’s ‘Chantilly Lace.’

“Making his North Carolina Theatre debut, James Barry will play the title role of Buddy Holly. Barry has previously appeared on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the First National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet, along with numerous regional productions, including Next to Normal (The Arden), Man of La Mancha starring Terrence Mann (CT Rep), and Pump Boys and Dinettes (New Theatre).”

James Barry stars as Buddy Holly (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

James Barry stars as Buddy Holly (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

The North Carolina Theatre adds:

Zach Cossman will play Jerry Allison in Buddy’s band, famously known as the ‘The Crickets,’ a role he previously played at The Casa Mañana Theatre in Texas. He also appeared in the world premiere of the Off-Broadway Show, Revolution in the Elbow and in the Blue Man Group. Appearing as second ‘Crickets’ member Joe Mauldin is Sam Sherwood, who previously appeared in the national tours of Titanic and The Music Man.

“In the role of Richie Valens [1941-59] is Xavier Cano from Broadway’s Grease, along with Belinda Allyn (Broadway: West Side Story and upcoming Allegiance) as Maria Elena Holly and Brent Bateman as The Big Bopper [nee J.P Richardson, 1930-59]. Appearing as radio DJ ‘Hipockets Duncan’ is Matt Allen, having previously appeared on the North Carolina Theatre stage as Scuttle in 2014’s Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Broadway credits: Honeymoon in Vegas, The Wedding Singer).

Buddy will be directed and choreographed by DJ Salisbury, who has set shows for theaters nationwide, including Paper Mill Playhouse, Dallas Summer Musicals, Sacramento Music Circus, and ArtsCenter of Coastal Carolina. DJ is returning to NCT after performing in Hello, Dolly! 24 years ago. This is his seventh production of Buddy. Angela C. Howell will appear in the production and serve as music director.

“Rounding out the cast will be Benny Elledge, Dana Zihlman Harshaw, Yolanda W. Rabun, Matthew J. Riordan, Troy Valjean Rucker, Scott Wakefield, and Kelsey Walston. Onstage musicians include Jonathan Robert Minnick and Jay Wright.

“The production will also feature actors from our flagship training program, the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory, including Laura Bright, Caroline Farley, Katharine Richardson, and Collin Yates.”

SECOND OPINION: July 19th Raleigh, NC News & Observer mini-preview by Roy C. Dicks:

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 36 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $37.32-$122.24.


NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 6949;; or

SHOW: and

PRESENTER:,,,, and

2014-15 SEASON:

NCT BLOG (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): (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. bio), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Wikipedia).

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (1989 West End and 1990 Broadway musical): (official website), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Wikipedia).

Alan Janes (book): (Internet Broadway Database).

DJ Salisbury (NCT guest director and choreographer): (official website).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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Categorised in: Features, Lead Story, Theatre Feature