Thursday, January 17, 2013
Andy Matchett, of Andy Matchett and the Minx stars in this production at the Ice House Theater, (1100 N. Unser St. in Mount Dora). I can't imagine another performer who could so easily step into Buddy's shoes. The role seems custom made for Andy. The Buddy Holly Story tells the story of the three years in which he 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”, “Not Fade Away”, “Everyday”, “Rave On”, “Maybe Baby”, “Raining In My Heart”, Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba”, and the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace”. ‘Buddy’ Holly's music and story have been shared live with many more people than the real Buddy Holly ever had the chance to perform to. The incredible legacy of the young man with glasses, whose musical career spanned an all-too-brief period during the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll, continues to live on.
I went to sketch a full dress rehearsal run through of the show. As actors got dressed, Whitney Abell sat stage right fingering her iPad. Soon all three of the actresses, the back up chorus, were ready for mic checks. The band went through their mic checks and perhaps an hour went by before the director called out, "Places!" An actor shouted back, "Thank you places!" The red velvet curtains closed and then re-opened. The primary conflict in the show was that country music radio stations didn't understand Buddy's music. They wanted to mold him into a country music star. When Buddy and the Crickets performed live at a radio station they switched up the performance and started playing their brash rock and roll. The stations phones lit up. During the rehearsal, the play came to a halt when power to the mics was lost on stage. One of the musicians joked, "We should rename the show, Buddy Holly Unplugged!"
The final number performed was "Rave On!" Midway into the song, the music just stopped and the theater went black and silent. A single spotlight illuminated the now deserted microphone where Buddy had been singing. On February 3rd, 1959, the man who changed the face of popular music tragically died in a plane crash at the tender age of 22. Also on the plane were, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens'. That was the day the music died. In the darkness the entire cast bowed their heads. The show bounded back with an encore performance by Buddy with the lights blazing. At the end of the song, Buddy raised his fist in the air shouting, "Tell all your friends Buddy Holly is back in town!" This awe inspiring show will run from January 18th to February 17th with evening shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with matinees on Sundays and select Saturdays. Some shows are already sold out, get your tickets now!