The Buddy Holly Story: Are You Ready to Rock?

By: Ruben Borjas, Jr., Columnist, Montgomery County News
| Published 04/08/2024


CONROE, TX -- I've passed it coming and going to Plainview one time, but 1956 Lubbock has been transplanted to the Crighton Theatre in Conroe, when Buddy Holly was an up and coming young country singer with a secret passion for Rock ‘n Roll. In ‘Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,’ you will get a look at the singer behind the scenes, and at the passion he demonstrated to fight for his music, and those trademark glasses that made him famous. For Stage Right of Texas, it was a bold choice, and in the lead, Buddy Holly; we find that Montgomery County has been harboring a Holly devotee, preparing for the role over half of his life.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is a high-energy and captivating musical filled with incredible performances and the hit songs that made Holly a legend. Except for the blue scene transitions and some background music played during the scenes, every note is played on stage, and by the talented actors themselves. I found the cast filled with energy and passion in producing the best show possible, and from start to finish, the audience was riveted.

The story starts with Buddy Holly (Ian Montez), and The Crickets Jerry Allison (Robben Montez), and Joe Maudlin (Eric Endicott); playing on the Lubbock KDAV radio show, run by Hipockets Duncan (Johnny Barton). The band starts out playing country music ‘Flower of My Heart,’ before switching and rocking out to ‘Ready Teddy,’ to finish off the show. After the show Duncan reveals to Buddy a recording contract to DEECA Records in Nashville. The problem is the Music City company records country music, and Holly is dead set on his brand.

Buddy returns to Lubbock after recording with DEECA, and even after playing ‘That’ll Be The Day,’ to the executives who were not impressed. Hipockets has a friend in Clovis, New Mexico, Norman Petty (Katt Gilcrease), who works with Holly and The Crickets in laying down tracks to send to New York. One song, ‘Cindy Lou,’ is changed to ‘Peggy Sue,’ to accommodate a girl that drummer Jerry Allison is trying to date, and the song ‘Everyday’ emerges with the help of Vi Petty (Vivian Kalinov) after an all-night session.

All the hard work pays off, and the band soon emerges with a Number 1 Hit. After a quick trip to New York, the guys find themselves in Harlem, and of all places; in the Apollo Theatre, which initially generates some tense moments with Tyrone Jones (Teddy Gipson), and Marlena Madison (Jakeia Brooks) who both sang brilliantly. Incredibly, the guys win over the crowd and gain their acceptance. Afterwards Buddy marries, and the rest is legend with the Big Bopper and Richie Valens.

The Buddy Holly Story has a talented cast, starting with Ian Montez as Buddy, who has idolized Holly since he was 5 years old. It’s like he was born for the role, playing Holly’s music on guitar since he was 11; and the 21 year old is stoked about playing the role of a lifetime. Montez’s brother Robben, who plays Jerry Alison, has been playing drums for 6 years and is by all standards of the production well accomplished. Eric Endicott portrays Joe Maudlin, in playing the standing bass. The funny thing is, Endicott, until he was cast; he never played the instrument in his life, but you’d think he was a natural onstage. Samuel Jones, who plays Tommy, or the 4th Cricket, and is well tasked as guitar back-up.

In the Second Act, Maria Elena (Raquel Oliveria), agrees to marry Holly after a five hour courtship, and in taking her new role, she crosses swords with Vi Petty, causing tensions and irreconcilable differences. The Big Bopper (John Thompson), reveals his larger than life presence with ‘Chantilly Lace,’ along with Richie Valens’ (Robben Montez), with ‘La Bamba,’ and he will have your head spinning trying to follow him around.

Director Sean Thompson took many rough diamonds over the past few months, and shaped them into shining stones worthy of showing off, and it gives rise to a wonderful performance that will have you dancing in the isles. Set Designer Johnny Barton, did a great job in creating a safe environment for the actors to traverse. Lighting played an important part in the musical, setting the tone for transitions, and separating different actions going on the stage at the same time. Music Director, Ryan Dineen, was awesome in playing the keys for the songs, but also he played small parts such as the celesta which Vi Petty played in ‘Everyday.’

The Buddy Holly Story is very entertaining. It’s packed with classic songs your grandparents would be familiar with, and despite the sad ending, you will be leaving the theater in a good mood. I highly recommend this musical. It’s a great opportunity to hear some great music from a different era that set the course of Rock ‘n Roll history.

See you at the Crighton Theatre!

‘Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story’ runs at the Crighton Theatre until April 21st. or 936-441-7469.

Ruben can be reached at: