The Buddy Holly Story

zachary-stevenson-shaunwhitleyBefore the mania began with the British invasion of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones known as the bad boys who affectionately called themselves the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" in the Sixties; a bespectacled guy from Lubbock Texas named Buddy Holley paved the way of Rock ‘n Roll' in the mid-fifties. Holley infused African American style music such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie-woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music to stir of the soul of America.

Charles Hardin Holley known as Buddy Holly, was an American musician, singer-songwriter and record producer who was a pioneering figure of the mid-1950s rock and roll. A simple typo on his record contract, a missing "e" in his surname; Holley, stuck just like his catchy tunes and became his signature name when he opened up for Elvis Presley.

zachary-stevenson-shaun-whitley-and-castThe Buddy Holly Story is the one musical you must see. American Blues Theater showcases the story of Buddy's spectacular life and career with high octane, infectious and electrifying energy in "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story." Zachary Stevenson makes his ABT debut as the charismatic musician.

Stevenson is mindboggling and amazing in this role of Holly, a character he played to perfection, from his mannerism to his singing style which was characterized by his vocal hiccups and his alternation between his regular voice and falsetto. He is a force to be reckoned with, with tons of energy that exploded throughout the night.  

The musical career of rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly made it cool to wear glasses on stage.  The Buddy Holly Story is about the superstar who life ended too soon. It starts from the days when "Peggy Sue" was "Cindy Lou," a song about his first girlfriend, to the impressive run of "That'll Be the Day" up the charts. It also highlights his marriage with Maria Elena (Molly Hernández), his relationship with Norman Petty (Derek Hasenstab) breakup with the Crickets (Kieran McCabe and Shaun Whitley) reunion with the Crickets, and his untimely death.

zachary-stevenson-and-molly-hernandez-1Even though Holly never had a number one single in America, his legacy is immeasurable. This American music icon is dually noted as one of the most significant figures in the birth of rock music and is viewed by many as the trendsetter of the conventional rock lineup of instruments – two guitars, bass, and drums. Stevenson is flat out incredible and mind-blowing in this role that you felt like time magically traveled back 60+ years, and you were witnessing this 1950's icon in present-day form.

Buddy and the Crickets established the precedent for a self-contained rock & roll band, that is, one that wrote its material and had enough studio freedom to do what it felt, in the process bridging country and rock. Most bookers thought Holly and the Crickets were black, partly because they toured with blacks.

August 16, 1957, when they performed at the Apollo, which typically only had black performers, is where you get to see Buddy and The Crickets, tear up the stage with other performers. Such as Apollo performers Chuckie Benson and Angela Alise opening up with "Shout!" 

Director Lili-Anne Brown and musical direction by Michael Mahler gave us an exciting night filled with unstoppable highs, and feel great moments of a man you'll never forget by the name - "Buddy Holly!"

The love for Buddy Holly was still evident some thirty years later, in the 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction," John Travolta and Uma Thurman had a waiter as a Buddy Holly lookalike.

ABT Buddy is an exhilarating musical that keeps you engaged from beginning to end with outstanding performances and classic songs like "The Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace," Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba," both Vasily Deris and Cisco Lopez were phenomenal in their performances. They had the audience up on their feet with joyful chaos because it was a such a crowd pleaser. You thought you were at a concert longing for an encore!

Let's Play highly recommends "Buddy – The Buddy Holly story" because this musical excelled with theater rocking performances that will leave you wanting more! More Buddy, gives us more!

The cast includes:

Angela Alise (Apollo Performer)

Chuckie Benson (Apollo Performer)

Liz Chidester (Vi Petty

Ian Paul Custer (Hi Pockets)

Ann Delaney (Company)

Vasily Deris (Big Bopper)

Jennifer Dymit (Company)

Alex Goodrich (Clearlake Announcer)

Derek Hasenstab (Norman Petty)

Molly Hernández (Maria Elena)

Cisco Lopez (Ritchie Valens)

Michael Mahler* (Tommy / Cricket; music director)

Kieran McCabe (Jerry / Cricket)

Daniel Riley (Apollo Performer)

Zachary Stevenson (Buddy Holly)

Shaun Whitley (Joe / Cricket)


American Blues Theater Presents

BUDDY – The Buddy Holly Story

By Alan Janes

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

Musical Direction by Ensemble Member Michael Mahler

April 27 – May 26, 2018

Filed under: ChicagoNow

Leave a comment