Sponsored by: Showtimes: June 24 – August 13, 2022 Haven Indoor Theatre.
Back before the Beatles. Back before Bobby Riddell and Chubby made her big checker. Before the many household names that shaped the changing music landscape, there was a talented Texan named Charles Hardin Holly – better known as Buddy Holly – who made an indelible mark on the world before his life tragically ended.
“It’s strange to me how much music he was able to produce in such a short time,” said Andrew Harvey, an actor who spent a good portion of his time on stage filming Buddy Holly in the musical biopic Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. “When you think about the impact he’s had on rock ‘n’ roll during his short career, it’s pretty amazing.”
Now this epic story is coming to Tuacahn with all the energy and talent befitting the legend it revives, June 24 through August 13 inside the Haven Theatre.
Performed by a team of skilled actors who each play one or more musical instruments on stage, Haven Theater is fast transforming into a rock venue the likes of which have not been seen since Holly himself was making his place in the world.
“Imagine a million dollar quad, but with a big horn section and two Jerry Lee Lewis writing pianos,” said Keith Andrews, director of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, referring to his previous directing experience in Tuacahn last year. “We’re definitely taking it a little bit.”
Harvey said he’s “happy” to take on the role for a second time – his first in Tuacahn – especially because this is the role he’s been cutting his professional acting teeth for.
“I’m excited to get another crack, to dig into the music and do the dang thing,” Harvey said.
Harvey’s original interest in guitar, a self-taught musician, began about 10 years ago when he wanted to audition for his lead role in a community theater production of The Wedding Singer in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Little did he know the impulse would eventually lead him to film some of the most pivotal moments in rock ‘n’ roll history, including Buddy Holly’s 1957 concert at the Apollo Theater and his last concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, just before the plane crash.
“It’s a really touching story,” Andrews said. “People are often surprised by how impressed they are with it, as well as how much they enjoy it.”
Angela Howell, the show’s musical director who also plays Vi Petty, agreed.
“We’re talking about 17- and 20-year-olds who took the world by storm. It happened in the 1950s compared to today,” Howell said. …whether they’re ready for it or not.”
This will be Howell’s eighth opportunity to portray the historical character of Vi Petty. In real life, Fia and her husband Norm Petty were music producers in Clovis, New Mexico, and had the distinction of recording most of the top 10 hits for Holly.
“The first time I played that part was in 1999,” Howell said, then added with a laugh. “I was young for the role then, and I hope I’m not too old now.”
As the music director for this version of the show, Howell worked closely with Andrews to ensure the actors could check all the right boxes when it came to acting, singing, and playing multiple instruments.
“Friends should play guitar, of course, and crickets should play drums and bass, but from there you can include all kinds of other instruments in the show,” Andrews said. “We have banjos, mandolins, horn sections, saxophones, violins, violins, you name it, and we can put them on display.”
But Paddy isn’t just about throwing a high-energy concert. There is also a compelling story to tell. Balancing the two is where the Haven Theater plays an essential role.
“What’s great about Haven Theater is, not only is it has a great sound, but it’s also an intimate space where you can really connect to the characters and really understand their stories,” Andrews said.
Connecting to the story through music is one of Harvey’s favorite parts of the role he’s passionate about.
“I was inspired so much by his leadership,” Harvey said. “He accomplished so much in such a short time and so much of his music went on. I wish I could say my goal is to make it happen, but I think I’m going to tire myself out trying to keep up. He has been prolific.”
Audiences can enjoy all their favorite Buddy Holly songs, while getting a closer look at his short but touching life when Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story hits the stage of Tuacahn’s Hafen Theater from June 24 to August 13. Tickets are now on sale at www. tuacahn.org or by calling 435-652-3300.