Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

On the Twentieth Century cover art

Written By Alan Janes
Music and lyrics by various
Directed by Rob Bettinson

Main Players/Characters

Craig Urbani

Buddy Holly

Mark Heenehan

Hipockets Duncan

Stephen Pallister

Joe Mauldin

Guy James

Jerry Allison

David Allman

Norman Petty, others

Claire Carpenter

Vi Petty, others

Scott Fleming

Fourth Cricket, others

Diana Croft

Maria Elena, others

John-Simon Rawlings

The Big Bopper, others

Alex Paez

Richie Valens, others

Justin Butcher

Dion, others

Alison Porter

Peggy Sue, others

Andrea Turner 

Candy, others

Plot Summary

This musical is a biography of Buddy Holly, from his struggling teenage days in Texas, where his brand of rock 'n' roll didn't sit well with the country music lovers of the area, to his climb to national success, to his tragic death in a plane crash. The show ends with the "last concert" that he performed.


  1. Rose of Texas
  2. Flower of My Heart/Ready Teddy
  3. That'll Be the Day
  4. Rock Around with Ollie Vee
  5. Everyday
  6. Good Times
  7. Party
  8. True Love
  9. Not Fade Away
  10. Peggy Sue
  11. Words of Love
  12. Oh Boy
  13. Star Spangled Banner
  14. Why Do Fools Fall in Love
  15. Chantilly Lace
  16. Maybe Baby
  17. Peggy Sue Got Married
  18. Heartbeat
  19. La Bamba
  20. Raining in My Heart
  21. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
  22. Rave On
  23. True Love Ways
  24. Hi-Pockets' Tribute
  25. Johnny B. Goode
  26. Encore Introduction
  27. Encore: Oh Boy


None that I'm aware of.


I saw this show a couple of years ago when it passed through Denver. I enjoyed it thoroughly; it was a high-energy production, and I'd forgotten how good Buddy Holly's music was. Everyone I know who saw it also enjoyed it. The plot was rather cursory--I was hoping for an in-depth examination of Buddy Holly's career, but the show moved from one incident to another with little concern for anything except the songs. (The one sour note was a product placement in the little program they passed out and on the set; I HATE HATE HATE product placements, especially in musicals, where they absolutely do not belong.) Still, I would probably see it again if the opportunity arose.

Having said that, I will now say that this CD, recorded live at the Strand Theatre in London, was an enormous disappointment. The problem is that almost no dialogue was recorded, and obviously, the songs don't reflect the plot, so as far as a listener is concerned, you're just hearing a "live Buddy Holly concert" with no indication that a story is taking place. Which begs the question: why bother? If this is just an imitation of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and other songs, why not get the real thing? I think more than a few people asked themselves this, since I found a bunch of these discs at a used CD store. The songs are competently done, but that's not the point.

I see no need to talk about the individual performers, since no one except Mark Heenehan does any acting on this disc; they just sing. They sing well, but mere singing is not why I listen to musicals. Oh, wait, there's a bit when Craig Urbani nervously introduces the Crickets at the Apollo Theater.

CD Packaging

This is one of the most useless booklets I've encountered. It has a cast list in order of appearance, a song list, technical credits, and a short letter from Laurie Mansfield, who apparently came up with the idea to do this show. (It had already been running for seven years in London when this letter was written in 1996.) No plot summary, no sense of who the important characters are besides Buddy, no composer credits, nothing.


As a hardcore fan of musical theatre, I've lost interest in listening to most standard pop CDs--that is, collections of unconnected songs. I surely won't be listening to Buddy much, because it is, frankly, boring. As a live show, Buddy was a lot of fun. As a CD, it's basically worthless, unless you like soundalike cover versions of oldies or want a live Buddy Holly/Big Bopper/Richie Valens/Dion/etc. concert. Recording some of the dialogue (or, geez, even providing a lousy plot summary!) would have given this CD a bit more reason for being, at least for musical fans. Unless you saw the show and want the disc to reminisce by, I strongly recommend getting a real Buddy Holly disc if the show gave you a taste for his music.

All non-lyric material copyright 2001, D. Aviva Rothschild. All rights reserved

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