Paul Swensen Eddy (center) stars in "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story." Photo by Daren Scott
You’d have to be a puritan or a rock ‘n’ roll hater or both not to enjoy Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Alan Janes’ ’89 jukebox musical about the bespectacled legend from Lubbock, Texas. Before the proceedings turn overly talky with developments in the second act (i.e. Buddy’s whirlwind marriage and his split from the Crickets), this show co-produced by Intrepid Theatre Company and New Village Arts Theatre is in essence a concert performance of Buddy Holly classics like “That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue” and “Oh Boy.” Paul Swensen Eddy makes an appealing Buddy, and he’s raucously supported by Manny Fernandes as the Big Bopper and Shaun Tuazon as Ritchie Valens.
Rock ‘n’ rollers mostly over 50 will dig this show, but those younger should hear in Buddy Holly’s songwriting and guitar craft the inspiration for rock artists of all stripes (even punkers) who followed. Kudos to the musicians in this production, some of them on stage acting as well, who rock the house. Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is a trip back in time worth taking. (Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat 6/28/17)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.