“With the talented ensemble’s malleability and iconic characters, Hunter Foster’s direction transplants you back to 1959 in a great way. The direct address to the audience puts you in the room where these concerts happen in a magical way.
“While some said that Buddy Holly had “the sex appeal of a telegraph pole,” John Dewey’s magnetism is off the charts in the title role. He sounds, looks, and acts like the late great Mr. Holly, while still showcasing his own incredible musical talent.
“The 11-person cast not only fills all of the countless roles in the show, but are also the live band; almost all play instruments, all while recreating the talent of those that came before. James David Larson (Joe B. Maudlin; bass) and Zach Cossman (Jerry Allison; drums) flesh out Buddy’s band and best friends with musical aptitude and charisma to boot. Maximilian Sangerman (Tommy Allsup, guitar, trumpet) also joins the band, fleshing out the band dynamic with a high energy performance.
(L-R) Zach Cossman, John Dewey and Andrew Frace
“Natalie Hero, playing Buddy’s love interest Marie Elena charms the audience with their whirlwind love story, sharing tangible chemistry with Dewey. Brandi Chavonne Massey wows with ‘Shout’ as the Apollo Performer, earning numerous laughs with the sassy dialogue spat at The Crickets backstage. The rest of the cast is equally talented, filling out the remaining iconic people in Mr. Holly’s life, featuring Andrew Frace (Hipockets Duncan; saxophone), Kent M. Lewis (Norman Petty/Deutche; guitar), Elizabeth Nestlerode (Vi Petty; MD Associate; piano), Karack Osborne (The Big Bopper), and Gilbert V. Sanchez (Ritchie Valens).
“Choreography by Lorin Lattaro do not distract from the music, while featuring those band and cast members highlighted in specific moments and songs. In a show so driven by music, sound design by Matthew Given puts the audience in a radio studio, the recording studio, and live at concerts through different effects, while continuing to keep the band sounding great.
“Andrew Koch’s beautiful turntable set allows multiple locations in the studio, in the office, on stage, or on the street with minimal changes and multiple drops. This gives a malleable canvas for Gina Scherr’s lighting design. Scherr’s lighting does not just punctuate the music, but amplifies its strength with concert-level bright colored lights, different for each new venue. Costumes by Nicole V. Moody transports the cast back to the 1950s, from Buddy Holly’s classic thick-rimmed glasses, rolled up jeans, and button ups to the girls’ A-line, classic dresses.
“For those who knew of Buddy’s work while he was alive, this is the perfect opportunity to relive the early days of rock ’n’ roll. For those of us who were not so lucky, make your way to Bucks County Playhouse to be transported back to be in the audience a concert with the 1950s greats we lost too soon”
- Rachel Beecher, DC Metro Arts
James David Larson as Joe B. Mauldin and John Dewey as Buddy Holly
“A truly great production… Could there be a better Buddy Holly than John Dewey? I don’t think so. The passion of a bespectacled young man in his teens and early twenties, whose youth refuses to believe in boundaries, is perfectly exemplified by the beautifully authentic performance of Dewey… The chemistry between John Dewey and Natalie Haro (as Maria) is tender and nuanced… All are excellent musicians and singers. There is no orchestra in the pit, because all the accompaniment is played by Buddy Holly and the Crickets, which is to say, the cast.
“The sound is not just good, it rocks. The cast loves to play their instruments and you feel it. The vibe is not just acting. They are truly jamming. They are truly rocking. They are playing with it. They are having fun. They are lifting the audience with them. It is raw. It is exciting. And it is great theater…
Brandi Chavonne Massey as Apollo Performer
“I would be remiss if I did not say that I admired the sets by Adam Koch, as well as the lighting design by Gina Scherr, and sound design by Matthew Given. The turntable gave smooth transitions from scene to scene.
“In the end, regardless of our knowing that our protagonist dies in a fatal crash, Buddy Holly lives on. Ironically, his group’s name was the Crickets. But is far from the sound of crickets that one hears at the end of the evening at Bucks County Playhouse. One hears the hooting, hollering, applauding and stomping of feet that only true rock ‘n’ roll can produce”
- John Dwyer, New Hope Free Press
(L-R) James David Larson, John Dewey, Zach Cossman, Maximillian Sangerman
“(An) energetic, talented and engaging cast… John Dewey has the looks, the moves and the voice as Buddy Holly. The Crickets include James David Larson (Joe B. Mauldin), who does some great stunt-playing on the stand-up bass; Zach Cossman as Jerry Allison, the drummer, and Maximillian Sangerman as Tommy Allsupp, guitarist. It’s a tribute to these actors-musicians that they play as a cohesive and entertaining tribute band… Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story will touch your life, too. His story does ‘Rave On’ at Bucks County Playhouse”
- Paul Willistein, Bethlehem Press
John Dewey as Buddy
“This two act musical, featuring almost two dozen songs by these talented composers and performers is a joyous celebration of their lives and music”
- The Times of Trenton
James David Larson, Zach Cossman, John Dewey and Maximillian Sangerman
“The handsome young men who play Buddy and his band mates are fantastic musicians. Zach Cossman as Jerry Allison on drums will make you think that he also worked for the early Diana Ross and the Supremes. He’s got that Motown sound down and it’s vibrant, alive, and kicking. John Dewey looks the part of Buddy Holly. He’s earnest, skinny, and cute. The real surprise is Brandi Chavonne Massey as the Apollo Performer. Her solo brings down the house… For a fresh breeze blowing happiness into your life, see Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story”
- Ralph Malachowski, Out In Jersey