Alhambra The Buddy Holly Story Gala by

Alhambra’s The Buddy Holly Story

The excellent casting by Producer/Director/Choreographer Tod Booth included two veterans of past Holly shows; Joe Mauldin (Scott Moss) and Jerry Allison (Joe Cosmo Cogen) both members of the Crickets.

The story covers his marriage to Maria Elena (Lia Sumerano) and his conflicts with his record producer and manager Norman Petty (Michael Ursua).

Most of the second act is devoted to Holly’s final concert on the stage of The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa before that final fatal flight on a stormy winter night. The Alhambra loaded its expanded stage with talented dancers, singers, and a seven-piece band known as the Clear Lake Band. The band featured some big brass with Jarell Harris on Saxophone, Warren Kus playing trumpet, and Van Battle sliding that old trombone.

Appearing in concert that evening was Big Bopper (Timothy M. Reilly) singing his big hit “Chantilly Lace.” And the portrayal of Ritchie Valens (by Albert Jennings) was definitely an audience favorite, with his over-the-top version of “La Bamba.” His skin-tight purple slacks, along with his skills at engaging the audience, may have had something to do with the enthusiastic response.

Backup female singers included Tracy Joan Davis, Amy Elizabeth Young and Esther Covingham (who also played Petty’s wife Vi). Backup male vocalists included Luke Darnell, James T. Washburn, and again Dominic Windsor. Rounding out the cast is Alex Jorth, who has become something of an Alhambra regular as Hipockets, the Lubbock, Texas DJ who helped launch Holly’s career.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.