The Night the Music Lived

Buddy Holly Story

Michael Perrie, Jr. as Buddy Holly

His career spanned a year and a half, but in that time he revolutionized rock and roll and left an indelible fingerprint that would inspire some of the greatest performers of all time.  His story is the focus of Buddy:  The Buddy Holly Story by Alan Janes and currently playing at Maples Repertory Theatre.

Janes’ script falls somewhere between a play and a jukebox musical.  Precious little of Holly’s life is covered in the show.  The play part focuses on certain key points in his life from his struggles as a teenager trying to become a rock star in the country music meccas of Texas and Nashville to his nabbing a recording contract with an open minded producer to his legendary Apollo performance to his whirlwind marriage to his break-up with the Crickets and, finally, to his final concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA.  Needless to say, the jukebox part focuses on Holly’s hits as well as numerous other hits of the day.

Tim Seib masterfully handles the dual direction required of the production.  He musters every ounce of story, nuance, and emotion from the story portion of the production.  In fact, I was incredibly impressed with his work for the romance between Holly and his wife, Maria Elena Santiago, which is the richest part of the story from an acting perspective.  Seib nabs an easy A+ directing the action of the musical part of the show which is good, old fashioned, pulse pounding rock and roll.

Some wonderful featured performances were supplied by Alan Gillespie as Norman Petty, the producer willing to allow Holly the chance to record music his way, but also lives up to his last name by attempting to screw Holly over by keeping the Crickets and taking the band name when Holly decides to change labels; Garrick Vaughan and Nissi Shalome as a pair of Apollo performers who give a rousing rendition of “Shout” and mercilessly heckle Holly and his band before their performance; Mike Brennan is an indefatigable cauldron of energy as J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and excels with his solo in “Chantilly Lace”.

I’d also like to give some special notice to Alix Rhode who gives a subtle and moving performance as Maria Elena Santiago.  She is strong, bold, and so loving and supportive of Buddy and your heart breaks as you know her fears for Holly’s safety are all too true.

This show lives or dies by the performer playing Buddy Holly and Michael Perrie, Jr. admirably carries the load of this show on his shoulders.

Perrie IS Buddy Holly and practically reincarnates him in front of the eyes of the audience.  Not only does Perrie bear a remarkable physical similarity to the late singer, but he also effortlessly emulates his look, assumes his accent and speech cadences, and even gets that unique hiccup in his voice when he sings.

Perrie brings some serious acting chops to the role.  He manages to show Holly’s politeness and decency, but also his toughness as Holly wouldn’t back down from anyone when it came to his music.  He also well plays Holly’s free-spirited nature.  This was a man who always marched to his own beat no matter what anyone thought about his choices.  He also expertly handles the heartache of Buddy’s life, shedding real tears when the Crickets abandon him and, more or less, yank the band name from him.

Musically, Perrie is also outstanding.  He’s a guitar player par excellence and easily handled rock numbers such as “Not Fade Away”, “Oh, Boy!”, and “That’ll Be the Day”, but he was just as nimble and moving on the softer numbers such as “True Love Ways”, “Words of Love”, and “Heartbeat”.

Cullen Law’s musical direction was exceptional as he and his performers made these classic tunes their own.  Jack Smith’s costumes were superb, from the elegant suits for the men to the pretty gowns for the ladies. Ali Strelchun has created a nice three sided set with a massive band area at center stage, a small radio station at house left, and Petty’s tiny recording studio at house right.  Jess Fialko’s lights are spot on with colors and intensity matching the energy and emotions of the songs and an incredibly poignant blackout for The Day the Music Died.

I want to take a moment and applaud all of the actors for showing great poise under pressure as they battled microphone issues throughout the night, but steamrolled right over them.

Some music experts have argued that, had Holly’s life not been cut short, Buddymania may have ruled the world due to the breakthroughs he was making with music.  Though his life was tragically short, he left behind an amazing legacy that is still inspiring musicians today.  And if you want a taste of musical history and a fun filled time, go see this show.

Music Lived

The Day the Music Died (Left to right: Mike Brennan as the Big Bopper, Michael Perrie, Jr. as Buddy Holly, & Chase Tucker as Ritchie Valens)

Buddy:  The Buddy Holly Story plays at Maples Repertory Theatre through August 11.  Performances are at 2pm on July 28, 31 and August 2-4, 6, 10, 11 and 7:30pm on July 31, August 2, 4, 7, 9-10.  Tickets start at $24 and can be obtained at www.maplesrep.com or contacting the Box Office at 660-385-2924.  Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

Pictures supplied through courtesy of Maples Repertory Theatre

This review is dedicated to the memory of Kay McGuigan.  We miss you, friend!

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Youth Auditions for Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ Tour

Nebraska Theatre Caravan Youth Auditions for the Tour of A Christmas Carol

The Nebraska Theatre Caravan will hold auditions for youth (ages 7-18) for the anticipated national touring production of A Christmas Carol. Auditioning youth must not be taller than 5-foot even. Auditions will be held Saturday, August 17th at 11:00 a.m. at the Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass Street. Please enter through the stage door on the west side of the building.

The audition will include singing and reading from the script, followed by movement. Applicants should bring a resume and headshot, a 16 bar cutting of a prepared song with sheet music, and be prepared to read from the script. Applicants should also be prepared to move. An accompanist will be provided.

Estimated contract dates for A Christmas Carol are early November through late December 2019.

Note: These ARE touring productions and performances will be conducted across the United States. Rehearsals will be held 9 a.m.–6 p.m in Omaha. All actors must be available to attend all rehearsals during stated times, as well as all performances.

Youths selected for the tour will miss approximately seven weeks of school. A tutor / chaperone will be provided for the tour.

For additional audition or production information, contact Company Manager Kate Whitecotton at (402) 553-4890.

Revamped Rock Twist Set to Sizzle at OCP

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Omaha, NE.—Billy McGuigan’s Rock Twist will open Friday, Aug. 2 at the Omaha Community Playhouse. The show will run in the Hawks Mainstage Theatre from Aug. 2 through 18. Performances will be held Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

A high-energy concoction of rock ‘n’ roll mega hits with a big band twist, Billy McGuigan’s Rock Twist is a live concert experience covering everything from The Beach Boys to Billy Joel. This summer’s show features an all-new set list and introduces the Pop Rock Orchestra—a 15-piece lineup of all-star musicians.

MCGUIGAN’S 500TH PERFORMANCE

Billy McGuigan will celebrate his 500th Omaha Community Playhouse performance on Saturday, August 17 during Billy McGuigan’s Rock Twist.

McGuigan, now an internationally-recognized touring musician, first appeared on the OCP stage in Sweet Charity in 1994. But it was his portrayal of Buddy Holly that truly jumpstarted his career. After starring in Buddy:  The Buddy Holly Story in 2002, McGuigan decided to produce his own original Buddy Holly tribute show, and Rave On! was born. The show was wildly successful, appearing in ten different seasons at OCP over the next two decades.

Lightning struck again for McGuigan with the creation of yet another OCP fan favorite—Yesterday & Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience. This iconic all-request Beatles tribute show has run for 12 consecutive seasons at OCP and is set to return for 2019.

Tickets to Billy McGuigan’s Rock Twist—including McGuigan’s 500th show on August 17th—are available online at OmahaPlayhouse.com or through the OCP Box Office at (402) 553-0800 or 6915 Cass St., Omaha, NE 68132.  Tickets begin at $42 ($32 for season subscribers) and vary by performance and seating zone.

Blue Barn Vows to Make Memories with Season 31

BLUEBARN THEATRE ANNOUNCES

Season 31: Memory

This season BLUEBARN delves into the collective unconscious with five transcendent theatrical experiences, sure to linger long in your memory after you leave the theatre.

What do we choose to remember? What do we allow ourselves to forget?  In finding our individual answers to these questions, we discover the nature of our identities, our views of society, and our responsibilities within it.  We transform memory into history, into adventure, into myth. We create the past with these choices.  We define our present. We shape the future.

RED SUMMER

World Premiere Production

by Beaufield Berry

September 26th – October 20th , 2019 

In commemoration of the centenary of the Omaha race riots of 1919, BLUEBARN presents the world premiere of Beaufield Berry’s evocative account of our city’s past centered on the story of William Brown. Accused of a crime he couldn’t physically have committed, the infamous torture and lynching of this 40 yr old factory worker is a stain on America’s heartland. Red Summer presents an unflinching depiction of a city on the brink of chaos and a compelling portrait of the black migrant experience, each grounded by a deeply affecting vision of Will’s life and relationships before he became a tragic headline.

History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.

 

A VERY DIE HARD CHRISTMAS

by Jeff Schell and the Habit

November 29th  – December 22nd, 2019

Yippee-Ki-Yay, BLUEBARNERS! An outrageous take on the Most. Beloved. Christmas Movie. Of. All Time, we cordially invite you to our company Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza! All NYPD Blue’s John McClane wants is to come to the coast, get together with his estranged wife, and have some laughs. But when a team of well-choreographed, vaguely European terrorists start taking hostages as part of their nefarious plot to…who cares 😊 John has to cowboy up! Starring the dead guy from The Sixth Sense, the cop outside with Twinkies, big big hair, cocaine, indoor smoking, Professor Snape, and 40 floors of sheer adventure!

Hilarious, action-packed déjà vu… all over again.

WAKEY, WAKEY
by Will Eno
January 30th – February 23rd, 2020

You are invited to a celebration. We will talk about time, gratitude, our childhoods, and the million miracles at work in the world, in every single moment. There will be pictures. There will be music. Gifts. Wonder. Grief. Rebirth. From Will Eno, author of the BLUEBARN’s productions of Thom Pain and Gnit, comes an extraordinary, strange and beautiful experience that wakes up the big questions, and awakens us to one another with sly humor, compassion, and grace. P.S. There will be cake.          

Memento mori.

MARJORIE PRIME
Pulitzer Prize Finalist
by Jordan Harrison
March 19th – April 12th, 2020

In the near future, ‘Primes’ are available from the good people at Senior Serenity, the latest devices for helping people with their fading memories and loss of companionship. Marjorie’s daughter and son-in-law have purchased Walter Prime (a holographic projection of her husband as he looked in his 30s) to keep her company.  As the Prime is fed memories and conversation, the shape of their lives are revealed, more and more years are covered and recovered, and the nature of memories, the legacy of the past, and the promise of the future are all called into question.

Memories are not the key to the past, but the future.

A CHORUS LINE

Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett

Book by James Kirkwood, Jr. & Nicholas Dante, Music by Martin Hamlisch, Lyrics by Edward Kleban

Winner of 9 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize

May 14th – June 14th, 2020 

A singular sensation.  A cultural touchstone.  An iconic masterpiece.  A Chorus Line has captivated generations of theatre theatregoers with its unforgettable score, astonishing songs, and stunning choreography.  Rediscover the raw emotion, heart and determination of the unsung heroes of American musical theatre, the chorus dancers.  Drawn from real experiences that resonate even more strongly today, share the hopes and dreams, failures and successes of 16 dancers with their lives and careers on the line as they endure a grueling audition process.  Rediscover the power, rediscover the beauty, embrace the spectacular magic of one of the finest musicals ever set to stage.

Experience A Chorus Line again, for the very first time.

Do you remember what you did for love?

SEASON MEMBERSHIPS GO ON SALE TO THE PUBLIC JULY 24

CALL 402.345.1576

OR VISIT WWW.BLUEBARN.ORG

Join us for another season of unforgettable theatre.

MRT Will Show You How it’s Gonna Be with ‘Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story’

Maples Repertory Theatre Presents:

Buddy:  The Buddy Holly Story by Alan James

Synopsis

Follow the incredible journey of Buddy Holly’s meteoric rise to the top of the record charts during the golden days of rock ‘n’ roll in this dynamic tribute musical. You’ll be cheering for more, with such rousing fifties favorites as “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “Maybe Baby,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Raining In My Heart,” Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace.” This joyous celebration of a musical legend has audiences on their feet in every corner of the globe and it will explode on the Royal Stage in a toe-tapping, hand-clapping extravaganza! “Oh Boy!”

Showtimes

  • Fri. July 19 – 7:30
  • Sat. July 20 – 2:00
  • Tues. July 23 – 2:00
  • Wed. July 24 – 2:00
  • Sat. July 27 – 7:30
  • Sun. July 28 – 2:00
  • Wed. July 31 – 2:00, 7:30
  • Fri. Aug. 2 – 2:00, 7:30
  • Sat. Aug. 3 – 2:00
  • Sun. Aug. 4 – 2:00, 7:30
  • Tues. Aug. 6 – 2:00
  • Wed. Aug. 7 – 7:30
  • Fri. Aug. 9 – 7:30
  • Sat. Aug. 10 – 2:00, 7:30
  • Sun. Aug. 11 – 2:00

Tickets start at $24 and can be obtained by contacting the Box Office at 660-385-2924 or visiting www.maplesrep.com.  Maples Repertory Theatre is located at 102 N Rubey St in Macon, MO.

OCP Announces Auditions for ‘The Juniors’

Omaha, Neb.–The Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP) is holding auditions for the upcoming staged reading of The Juniors on Sunday, July 14 and Monday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. The Juniors is part of OCP’s 2019/20 Alternative Programming series.

Production:          The Juniors

Director:                Steve Krambeck

Auditions:             Sunday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Location:  Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass Street, Omaha, NE 68132

Actors interested in auditioning need only attend one evening of auditions. Those auditioning should enter through the west “Stage Door” entrance and proceed to the check-in table. Actors will be asked to read sections from the script. These sections will be provided at the auditions.

What to Bring:     All contact information, personal schedules and a list of rehearsal conflicts to complete your audition form. To expedite the check-in process, please bring a recent photo if you have one available.  Please note, photos will not be returned.

Show Dates:         Monday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Howard Drew Theatre

Rehearsals:           TBD

Description:  Written by Omaha native Noah Diaz, The Juniors is a comedy about the dark culinary arts: home economics. When a group of high school students are tasked with rearing flour sack children, the assignment descends into primitive chaos and “Lord of the Flies”-style savagery. It’s flour power time for these high schoolers, and if you can’t stand the heat — get out of the kitchen.

Contact:  For more information, contact Tiffany Nigro, tnigro@omahaplayhouse.com or (402) 553-4890.