If you are a fan of 50s rock, Buddy Holly and the Crickets in particular, then the Alhambra’s new show The Buddy Holly Story is for you. If you were not around when Buddy Holly rose to fame and created the sound that changed the music of the 50s, you will be a fan after you experience this energy-packed extravaganza, which runs for two and a half hours.
The story of Buddy begins at age 19 when, as the leader of a small county music band, he pursued his desire to perform rock and roll in his very own special style. The musical, written by Alan James, debuted in London in 1989 and tells the story of a young man who until he married, was totally devoted to writing and playing his own songs. Buddy was not interested in politics, did not use alcohol or drugs. For him, it was only music, music, and music.
Holly’s brief career was limited to a span of three years, cut short by his untimely death in a small plane that crashed in 1959, along with fellow touring musicians Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. He produced over twenty great hits, including the classics “That’ll be the Day,” “Everyday,” “Peggy Sue,” “Maybe Baby”, and “Think It Over,” to name just a few.
Playing the role of Buddy Holly to perfection both physically and vocally is Todd Meredith, a veteran of ten previous performances of this exciting musical. Mr. Meredith is on stage ninety-five percent of the time, playing, singing and dancing with incredible energy and you will feel you are seeing the real Buddy performing. We checked some old clips of Holly on YouTube and the resemblance between Meredith and Holly is amazing.
One of the most amusing scenes involved Holly and the Crickets playing a gig at the famous all black venue, Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, and bringing down the house. The audience gets a sample of Harlem in the 50s with Apollo vocalists played by M. Penny Sylvester and Dominic Windsor.