Presented by the Fox Tucson Theatre and FX Arts
In 1957, a bespectacled kid from Lubbock, Texas reached the top of the charts with the song “That’ll Be the Day.” For Buddy Holly, the release of that single was life-changing, as it launched him into the stratosphere of rock icons. With his prominent, black-framed eyeglasses, Holly looked different than any rock star. He looked like an “everyman,” and audiences identified with him. “He made it okay to wear glasses,” John Lennon said. “I was Buddy Holly.”
Less than two years later, his new found fame came to an abrupt and horrible end, when he died on February 3, 1959 in a small plane crash in Clearlake, Iowa along with the pilot and two other pop stars, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Buddy Holly was only 22 years old.
Although Holly’s spectacular time in the spotlight was fleeting, more than half a century later he continues to be one of the most influential artists in the history of rock and roll. Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Natalie Merchant, Blondie, John Mellencamp, Pearl Jam, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles are just some of the musicians who have acknowledged the impact Holly had on their careers. Buddy Holly, one off the creators of Rock n’ Roll, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Interest in Holly remains strong, as is evidenced by the 2019 Buddy Holly True Love Ways Album of Greatest Hits recently set to orchestrations and recorded with the Royal Philharmonic charting at #10 on the British Album Charts in addition to the international popularity of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, seen worldwide by more than 22 million people and currently touring the UK and North America. The show’s score includes over 20 of rock and roll’s greatest hits by Holly, Valens, the Big Bopper and others.
Armed with a Fender Stratocaster guitar, signature black specs and a charismatic blend of rockabilly swagger, Buddy explodes onto the stage in a jukebox musical fully loaded with classics “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Well All Right,” “Everyday,” “Not Fade Away” “It’s So Easy” and many more in addition to rockin’ cast performances of Richie Valens “La Bamba”, The Big Boppers’s “Chantilly Lace” and other great early Rock n’ Roll hits.
One of the first jukebox musicals, Buddy created a model for other shows of this genre, including Mamma Mia!, featuring songs by ABBA; and Jersey Boys, the story of The Four Seasons.
Buddy Holly’s brief life has become the stuff of legend. Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is a celebration of that legend and captures that unique mixture of innocence, determination, humor and charm that was Buddy Holly.