You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

Everyday, it's a gettin' closer ... to opening night for 'Buddy'

On Friday — that’ll be the day — Bakersfield gets its first look at Ovation Theatre’s "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” the jukebox musical about the famed 1950s singer-songwriter.

Director Adam Cline said he'd been a fan of the show since acting in a local production of it.

"I was in this show as the Big Bopper at Stars Theatre in 2003 and had a blast doing the show as well as the role," he wrote in an email.

He took the idea to Ovation's artistic director, Hal Friedman, and the pair agreed it would be a good fit for Bakersfield since Holly started in country music before switching to the rock and roll for which he is known.

"Buddy" follows the musician's journey from fill-in country singer to a rock and roll star, whose career was tragically cut short at age 22.

Cline wrote, "It shows his progression from start to finish and introduces those who helped him along like Hipocket Duncan, played by Tim Adamson, a country DJ that got him his first record deal with Decca Records." 

Brandon Todd, who plays the Texas musician, does an amazing job in the show, Cline said.

"It’s actually his first show ever and we are so excited to have him a part of this cast and experience."

He said the scenes between Todd and Izamar Olaguez, who plays Holly's love Maria Elena, are especially powerful, addressing issues that we still fight in today's society.

"Race weighs heavily on their relationship as they struggle in the media’s eye," he wrote. (Maria Elena is Puerto Rican.) "Racial issues are brought up a few times in this show, which I feel is an important part of the story."

Of course, the show is also filled with memorable tunes, with the first act and much of the second charting Holly's career with songs such as "Everyday," "Not Fade Away," "Peggy Sue" and Cline's favorite "That'll Be The Day."

Cline wrote, "I think people enjoy this era because of its upbeat rhythmic sounds that get your body moving!"

The back end of Act 2 is the 1959 Winter Dance party show in Clear Lake, Iowa, with fellow headliners Big Bopper (Gabriel Abboud) and Ritchie Valens (Eli Castillo). It was the last show for the trio who died in a plane crash heading to the next tour stop.

"Buddy" features musicians Jeff Ardray, Jeff Ingle and Jake Sadolsky (who play the Crickets). The show also stars Brian Purcell and Amanda Harmon as record producer Norman Petty and wife Vi, Jacob Chivington as music executive Murray Deutch and Avery Gibson, Holly Rockwood and Ty Halton.

Cline said he wants audiences to have a good time enjoying classic rock tunes.

"It's great music and a story of a man whose music died too soon. ... Come check out our newly remodeled lobby and enjoy the show."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.