Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story charts the short life of the musician from his meteoric rise to fame, to his final legendary performance at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Speaking to the production team, Buddy Worldwide, about the show and what 3 February 1959 – the day her famous husband died at just 22 years old – means to her, Maria Elena Holly said: “When Buddy died it was so sudden. Those kinds of deaths are very, very difficult to deal with because you don’t have the chance to say goodbye.”
A small plane carrying Buddy Holly, 17-year-old Ritchie Valens, J.P. ‘the Big Bopper’ Richardson, 28, and pilot Roger Peterson 21, plummeted from the night sky into a frozen Iowa cornfield, killing all four men.
Folklore has it that Maria Elena had a premonition about the crash before Holly left for the Winter Dance Party Tour of 1959. She confirmed: “Absolutely, as a matter of fact we were both dreaming. Buddy had a dream about leaving me on top of a building and I dreamt about a comet, this great ball of fire coming down. It came past me and made a hole in the ground. I could see the fire coming out of that hole. The day after (Buddy) was leaving and I was packing for both of us but he said ‘I told you, I can’t bring you with me, you’re pregnant.’ I was not feeling well – it was the beginning of the pregnancy and apparently I got sick real fast.”
Having discovered news of the crash on television, Maria Elena says she fell into a “catatonic state”, unable to digest what had happened. She miscarried soon after.
Maria Elena added that it was in the UK during his 1958 tour of England, something Elvis Presley never did, that the Buddy Holly legend first took off and continued to be furtive years after his death, through The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Elton John, who have all spoken about Buddy’s influence and appeal.
Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, first staged in London in 1989, presents two hours of his greatest hits, including hits ‘That’ll Be The Day’, ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘Oh Boy’, ‘Rave One’, ‘Everyday’ and many more. With the Big Bopper’s ‘Chantilly Lace’ and Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’ completing a stellar musical line-up
Written and produced by Alan Janes, the show is being directed by Matt Salisbury and will star Glen Joseph in the lead role when it appears in Manchester and Wirral, who is alternating with Roger Rowley for the part of Holly during its UK tour.
The 2011 UK tour arrives to the Palace Theatre in Manchester from 28 March and returns to the region to New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion from 4 April.