Director and choreographer Casey Hushion is at the center of this high-octane, infectious, happy and dynamic piece of musical history. The fantastic energy; the beat; the pure snappy joy of Rock & Roll are evident by the roar of the crowd at the end of nearly every song. Hit after hit from “That’s All Right”, That’ll Be The Day”, “Not Fade Away”, “Peggy Sue”, “Oh Boy”, Words of Love”, "True Love Ways” to the show- stoppers of the Big Bopper And Ritchie Valens “ Chantilly Lace”, Johnny B. Goode”, and “La Bamba” simply had the audience bopping in their seats.
How could a musical featuring the songs and the story of Buddy Holly become such a success more than 30 years after his death?
“Holly’s continuing popularity and the success of Buddy will of course be of no surprise to Buddy Holly fans who already knew that his appeal would last forever. Buddy was somehow ahead of the other rock ‘n’ rollers and capable of more than just top hits. The sad part is that he never really got the chance to develop his artistry. It may be an overstatement to say that Buddy Holly inspired the whole beat boom of the ‘60s but many of the artistes who rose to fame in that era – from the Beatles down – acknowledged his influence.” ~By John Beecher (Author of Remembering Buddy)
The splendid performance from this young and talented cast of actor-instrumentalists and the music undoubtedly ensures that you leave with a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
The man and the music are what count, and both come over with freshness and energy. The cast includes Christopher Sutton as Buddy Holly, a role he’s played and won a Barrymore award for in the 1990’s returns to recreate a dynamic, action- packed performance once again. Sutton is joined by Lyn Philistine making her Walnut debut as Buddy’s love interest, Maria Elena. This role comes naturally as Philistine is Sutton’s real-life wife. Philadelphia favorites Scott Greer and Anthony Lawton play the big Bopper and Hipockets Duncan, respectively. Angela C. Howell is Vi Petty, and Miguel Jarquin-Moreland is Ritchie Valens.
Buddy Holly’s widow has this to say about the wave of enthusiasm that has become a tribute to her husband; ”They’ve done a terrific job of putting the highlights of Buddy’s career into two hours. Just seeing the people enjoying themselves, and getting up and dancing to Buddy’s music and getting excited – that makes me so happy.” Maria Elena Holly, (from True Love Ways by Rick Thorne.) I wholeheartedly agree.
BUDDY – THE Buddy Holly STORY runs at the Walnut May 15 through July 15. For tickets and information, call 215-574-3550 or 800-982-2787. Tickets are also available online 24/7 by visiting www.WalnutStreetTheatre.org or Ticketmaster.
Photo credits: Mark Garvin