PICKSINSIX Review: BUDDY - THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY
Zachary Stevenson's ‘Buddy’ is a 'WOW!'
Eighteen glorious months. … Strip away social media, cable television, satellite and internet radio, downloads, Amazon, Google, iTunes and what do you have left? Posters, vinyl records, small live venues, local television and radio, which makes what Buddy Holly did for eighteen glorious months in the late 50s all the more incredible.
Explosive performance … Times may have changed in the past sixty years, but they have not changed that much. Everyone is still looking for a sure thing and we’ve got one right here in Chicago on West Belmont – the explosive performance of Zachary Stevenson in the American Blues Theater revival of Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story at Stage 773.
Like a classic film .... we know how this bittersweet story ends, so it’s the actors — who are an amazing collection of singers and instrumentalists — that make this jukebox musical soar. Director Lili-Anne Brown and Musical Director Michael Mahler, who also performs, have brought a multi-talented company together around these iconic hits - well over two-dozen songs played out on the radio and in a series of recording sessions, club dates and concert appearances to frame the backstory. And they knock every one of them out of the park!
Extraordinary musical journey… Stevenson and the Crickets, Kieran McCabe, Shaun Whitley and Mahler — are at the core of this extraordinary musical journey. Liz Chidester, is perfect as Vi Petty (and really rocks the keyboards) as is Derek Hasenstab (Norman Petty), a blistering guitarist. The strong company features fine vocal performances by Angela Alise, Chuckie Benson and Daniel Riley at the Apollo, along with Alex Goodrich, Ann Delaney, Lauren Vogel and Molly Hernandez who also nails the endearing role of Maria Elena, and Ian Paul Custer, an affable Hi Pockets. The rockin’ talents of Cisco Lopez (Ritchie Valens) and Vasily Deris (Big Bopper) will blow you away, but this take-no-prisoners musical extravaganza belongs to one person: Zachary Stevenson’s 'Buddy' is a 'WOW!'
Educational and community outreach … American Blues Theater has partnered with Chicago Public Schools to encourage student attendance while cast members are also performing mini-concerts at assisted-living facilities and hospitals. No finer way to bring the arts and entertainment, and first-class musical opportunities, to an appreciative extended audience.
What are you waiting for? … Ready Teddy! You have until May 26th to see this one. Oh Boy!
AMERICAN BLUES THEATER
Buddy-The Buddy Holly Story
through May 26th
Buddy Holly Returns for 'Encore' Run
June 29th - Sept 15th
1225 West Belmont