Rave on

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 11, 2010

Their rip-roarin' version of "That'll Be the Day" tops the charts here and becomes a hit in England. Before long, the story is the same with "Oh Boy!" and "Peggy Sue." Singing the latter, the Texans bravely face a black audience at Harlem's Apollo Theater and are enthusiastically received. That surprises the emcee in this recounting, but not Holly. (The song was originally titled "Cindy Lou," but drummer Allison begged to name it after his girlfriend. She was impressed enough to eventually marry him.)

Buddy is usually called a "jukebox musical," and that it is. Most of the second half consists of their final concert, before Holly died in a snowstorm plane crash with two other top rockers of the time, Ritchie Valens (David Tessier) and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson (Scott Morency). Featured, of course, are Valens's biggest hit, "La Bamba," and the Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace." Musically, things are well in hand in this show. Vocally, Fontana's renditions segue seamlessly with recordings of Holly. And that, as we are reminded here, was a hard act to follow.

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