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The Genesis of Rock & Roll

November 8, 2022

Before The Beatles or The Stones ever played a note, popular music was forever changed by the bespectacled kid from Lubbock, Texas: Buddy Holly. Now, FST is thrilled to kick off our Winter Mainstage Series with the story of his rise from a small town Country music performer to Rock & Roll stardom. Featuring over a dozen of Buddy’s hits, including “That Will Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” and “Oh Boy,” Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story has become the world’s most popular Rock & Roll musical.

Though Buddy has played to international critical and audience acclaim since it first opened in London’s West End in 1989, FST’s production will bring a fresh new energy to the beloved show.

Buddy Holly was originally produced in London and on Broadway with 30 cast members,” said FST’s Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins. “Our version has only ten performers playing all of the roles with a variety of instruments. That makes it much more demanding to do and makes for a much more intimate show that’s more about storytelling and a little bit less about spectacle. It’s a really good story and the music is fantastic. It’s the genesis of Rock & Roll—how it all started.”

“There is one main reason this show just keeps running and running and running,” said show Director Jason Cannon. “The music is simply amazing. If you only know Buddy Holly for ‘Peggy Sue’ and ‘Everyday,’ you sit through this show and say to yourself, ‘He wrote that song too? And that one? And THAT one?!’ What he accomplished as a songwriter and performer in just under three years is so extraordinary and truly altered the landscape of popular music.”

For Michael Perrie Jr., who plays the lead role of Buddy in FST’s production, it’s the simplicity and heart that makes Buddy’s music and story an international sensation.

“He poured himself—mind, body, and soul—into his music,” said Perrie. “And through the elegance of his lyrics, paired with the driving rhythmic inventiveness of his music, he was able to tap into something primal that touches every person who hears it. It’s immediately recognizable and every note and word is filled with love.”

FST’s Mainstage opener marks Perrie’s sixth production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, who cites Holly as the reason he got into theatre in the first place.

Buddy has inspired me immensely throughout my life,” continued Perrie. “The first theatrical production I remember seeing that made me want to become an actor and musician was this show. When I was about 8 or 9-years-old, I saw my cousin and uncle in a production of Buddy and I just knew that I was going to perform someday, too.”

Joining Perrie on stage is Jimmy Lewis in the role of The Big Bopper and Armando Gutierrez in the role of Ritchie Valens, both of whom make their FST debuts.

In addition to over a dozen of Buddy Holly’s hits, you’ll also hear The Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace” and Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba.”

Called “Rockin’ Happiness” by The Chicago Tribune and “Enduring” by The New York Times, we invite you to join us for this toe-tapping, hand-clapping production, celebrating a musical genius well ahead of his time, and his indelible mark on music history.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story played in FST’s Gompertz Theatre from November 3, 2021, to January 9, 2022.