Sometimes we are moved by peoples’ lives, by stories that are much bigger than our selves. We sit and wonder about the trials, the failures and the successes of some of the most influential figures of their time, taking into consideration the surrounding circumstances and the enormity of it all. We are left in awe of just how talented some individuals are. Now, depending on your background and your preferences, you may or may not have the same feelings or the same reaction; however, I have a hard time believing that any of the 668 patrons of John Lane’s Ogunquit Playhouse left this past Saturday night, October 20, not feeling charged, amazed or emotional over Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.
The Buddy Holly Story – you guessed it, a play about Buddy Holly’s tragically short life – is so well put together that, as an audience member, you may just find yourself climbing the same mountains that Buddy had to in order to follow a passion that consumed him: music. After seeing Elvis Presley perform in 1955, Buddy made the switch from a country musician to a rock n’ roll star, never looking back. He signed a recording contract with Decca, which brought him and his band into the fast lane to fame. Buddy and The Crickets began touring shortly after, which gave them not only experience, but also a hearty following. Singing along to some of my own favorites like “Peggy Sue” and “That’ll be the Day” gave me the feeling that I was actually there – actually at one of Buddy’s shows.
Bob Dylan once said of Buddy, “When I was 16 or 17, I went to see Buddy Holly play and I was three feet away from him… and he LOOKED at me… Buddy Holly was a poet – way ahead of his time.” The cast at the Ogunquit Playhouse brought Buddy’s story to life, proving Dylan’s claim that Buddy was in fact ahead of his time. Funny, uplifting and celebratory – so much so that the cast had the crowd on their feet multiple times, singing and dancing up and down the aisles. Great costumes, beautiful voices and rich enthusiasm filled the playhouse from start to finish, and a well-timed intermission gave me just enough time to enjoy a Heineken before returning to my seat for the second half.
I only wish I could have written about this play sooner, because if you love Buddy Holly, rock n’ roll and having a great time on a Saturday night, then this one is a must. When next season rolls around, check out the schedule and see what’s on deck at the Ogunquit Playhouse. I strongly encourage and recommend a visit. You never know – you may just end up leaving in awe. Because some individuals really are just that talented.