'That'll Be the Day'

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Buddy Holly Musical a Hit on Spencer Stage

Spencer Community Theatre raised the curtain on "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story," last Friday. The musical runs through Saturday, Feb. 16.

Actors from the area are staging the story of Buddy Holly, the man who changed the face of popular music about 50 years ago before his tragic death in a plane crash at age 22.

"Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" tells the story of the three year period during which the black-rimmed glass wearing, rock and roll star became the world's top recording artist. The show features over 20 of Buddy Holly's greatest hits including "Peggy Sue," "That'll Be The Day," "Oh Boy," "Rave On," "Heartbeat," "Maybe Baby," "Raining In My Heart," as well as Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba" and the Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace" all performed live on stage.

This feel-good musical has garnered worldwide praise and numerous prestigious awards and nominations, including - but not limited to - two Laurence Olivier Awards, including one for Best Musical; a Tony Award; and two Outer Circle Awards.

"Buddy" follows the tragically short life of Buddy Holly (played by Spencer native and well-known folk musician Chad Elliott) from his first recording contract, his marriage to a young Puerto Rican girl named Maria Elena, through to his move to New York before concluding with the fatal tour of the Midwest.

Buddy sings his way through two hours of some of the best rock 'n' roll songs ever written in the two-hour epic.

In addition to Elliott, whose previous SCT stagework includes Beauty and the Beast, Music Man, and Pump Boys and Dinettes; additional cast veterans include Scott Meier,

who has performed in My Way and Deadstock, as the Big Bopper, and Karli Frerichs, who has performed in Beauty and the Beast and Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, as Maria Elena.

Northwest Iowa has a special connection to the material in this show. Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens met their end in a fatal plane crash in Clear Lake - less than 100 miles away from Spencer. Roger Peterson, Alta, was the pilot of that plane.

Many area residents have some sort of personal connection to the show; some even attended the musician's final concert at the Surf Ballroom. To commemorate the special connection to this historical event, the SCT Playhouse Lobby will feature art and photographs celebrating the life of the three musicians. The Iowa Rock and Roll Museum and residents of Spencer and the surrounding area have generously lent memorabilia, photos, and art to the Playhouse.

Tickets for "Buddy" are on sale now and may be reserved through the SCT Box Office at 262-7336. Remaining performances are at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 9, 15, and 16 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 10.