TIME: 2 hours 25 mins (includes 1 x 20 minute interval)
AGE RECOMMENDATION: BUDDY is suitable for all ages – from 8-80+!
The action takes place in Lubbock, Texas, Clovis, New Mexico, New York and Clear Lake, Iowa, between January 1956 and February 1959.
Starting out as a Country & Western singer in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy and his two friends Joe and Jerry form ‘The Crickets’, and with the support of a local radio DJ, ‘Hipockets’ Duncan, they begin to carve out a career in music.
After an inauspicious start at Decca Records in Nashville, Buddy and the Crickets sign a contract with up-and-coming innovative record producer, Norman Petty. Within hours of meeting they start to record Buddy’s biggest hit “That’ll Be The Day” which will rocket up the charts to number one in a matter of weeks. Buddy Holly & the Crickets suddenly become the hottest act in the country.
Now successful, the Crickets travel to New York, where Buddy meets and proposes to Maria Elena Santiago, the Puerto Rican receptionist of his music publisher, after a courtship which takes all of five hours! Newly married and ambitious, Buddy completely shifts his focus to New York and an inevitable rift develops between him and the Crickets. After a declaration of home truths during a recording session in Clovis, the band split and Buddy unexpectedly finds himself having to pursue a solo career. The ‘Winter Dance Party 1959’ is a tour that is travelling by bus through the Midwest, quenching the teenage thirst for the new music called Rock & Roll. The tour is hard work, the weather conditions appalling and the performers are alternating between sleeping in the luggage racks and dropping into hospital to be treated for frostbite.
Here, Buddy’s final performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, with Ritchie Valens (“La Bamba”) and the ‘Big Bopper’ J.P. Richardson (“Chantilly Lace”) is recreated. After the concert, Buddy breaks his promise to his pregnant wife not to fly as he and the other two headliners board a small plane and fly off into the night for Moorhead, Minnesota, only to crash into a ploughed field shortly after take-off. There are no survivors.
The tragedy snatches away the lives of three dynamic musical talents – Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17) and the Big Bopper (28) – and as the legend says, it was “the day the music died.”
Buddy Holly’s brief life has become the stuff of legend. Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is a celebration of the life and times of the young man with spectacles and catches that unique mixture of innocence, determination, humour and charm that was Buddy Holly, and wraps it up into a package that has become:
“THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL ROCK & ROLL MUSICAL”