It took Charles Hardin Holley, better known as Buddy Holly, two-and-a-half years to establish himself as a musical force to be reckoned with.
In that short time before his untimely death in an airplane crash in 1959, which also killed Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, Holly released such classics as Peggy Sue, That’ll Be the Day, Oh Boy!, Not Fade Away, Rave On — the list goes on.
Fast forward 52 years since that fateful day, and Holly’s legend and music are still celebrated by musicians and fans alike.
Those who were alive during Holly’s heyday and those born after, but still know the words to Peggy Sue, can sing along when Arts Club Theatre revives the international sensation, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.
The award-winning musical comes to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre on Remembrance Day.
“For 10 years now, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society has presented some of the most incredible theatrical performances to hit the Vernon stage, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is no exception,” said Brian van Wensem, audience development coordinator with the Performing Arts Centre.
Not shy to producing shows about musical legends, Arts Club Theatre just wrapped up its tour of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, which played to a sold-out Vernon audience last year.
This time the theatre has stepped up to the microphone once again by touring an even more ambitious production.
No small feat, the tour features a cast of 12, two stage managers, and three crew members, and includes 44 shows at 16 venues across the province.
“I’m thrilled that we’re able to bring our largest touring production yet to so many communities across the province,” said Bill Millerd, who serves as artistic managing director for the Arts Club Theatre Company, and is also directing Buddy.
Based in Vancouver, Millerd was able to access some excellent source material when researching Holly’s story.
“Red Robinson gave me a copy of an interview he did with Buddy Holly when he was in Vancouver in October 1957 for a concert, shortly after That’ll Be the Day had been released,” said Millerd, “In the interview, Buddy is bashful and awkward with none of that self-awareness that we often hear from mega-stars — a working musician in love with music making.
“The talented performers in our production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story exude that same quality.”
Donning those dark, thick-rimmed glasses is Zachary Stevenson, who has honed his craft performing in the folk/pop duo The Human Statues, said to be a Canadian version of Flight of the Conchords.
“It is truly a privilege to perform with such a talented cast,” said the actor/singer. “I’m looking forward to kicking it up a notch on the road.”
The notch was originally set high when Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story premiered in London’s West End in 1989, earning its writer/creator Alan James an Olivier award nomination for Best Musical.
With a 13-year run and subsequent and almost as long U.K. tour, the show has also received success on Broadway and internationally, with a total of 13 nominations and awards.
Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story has now been seen by more than 20 million people.
Vernon and area residents can get their chance when the show takes the stage at the Performing Arts Centre Friday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m.
“This one is sure to sell out, so be sure to get your tickets early,” said van Wensem.
Tickets are $45 for adults, $42 for seniors, $40 for students, and $5 for those students and schools enrolled in the eyeGo program. Discounts are also available to members of Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society. Visit the Ticket Seller box office in the centre, or call 250-549-7469 (SHOW) or order online at www.ticketseller.ca.