Blue Bridge takes on rendition of Buddy Holly’s life

Theatre company brings Vancouver production to Victoria

Jeremy Holmes

Brian Richmond remembers being in the front yard listening to rock ‘n’ roll on the transistor radio when he heard the tragic news.

It was 1959 when Buddy Holly and music stars died in a plane crash, later dubbed as the day the music died.

“I was 12 years old,” recalls the artistic director of the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. “I remember it coming over the news and how sad I felt and how everyone felt at the time … Buddy Holly was phenomenal. He was so seminal to a form of pop-rock in the 1950s. “

Richmond’s fondness for Holly’s music, however, wasn’t the driver behind his decision to bring in a touring production about the musician.

“I don’t think I would have brought the production here, had I not gone over to Vancouver to see the Buddy Holly Story … It is not an exaggeration to say the audience was up dancing in the aisles … The music was phenomenal.”

Richmond attended the show on a casting search. Zachery Stevenson, who plays Holly, was one of Richmond’s students around the turn of the millenium, back when Richmond was chair of the department of theatre at the University of Victoria.

Victorians have come to know Stevenson in several professional acting roles, including Hank Williams, as well as through his pop-folk duo, called the Human Statues.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story premiered in 1989. This production was produced by Vancouver’s Arts Club.

It’s the first time Victoria’s Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, launched in 2008, has brought in a show by another theatre company.

“It’s an experiment for us,” said Richmond. “It’s a little bit scary because you have to make a fairly large financial commitment to doing this kind of thing. You have to just hope that people will like it.”

The venture seems to be going well. As of Nov. 4, 2,000 tickets had been sold, representing 60 per cent of seats available for the three-performance run. Already, Blue Bridge has broken even on its investment.

“It’s getting up to being one of our highest pre-sells,” he said.

Success could mean Blue Bridge starts presenting more outside productions, alongside the three they produce each year.

“I’m more than happy to say this is a phenomenally entertaining show,” said Richmond.

The year 1959 marked the end of a decade “we view as our childhood, and one of the happiest periods in our culture,” he explained. “Holly represented this aspect of ‘50s life. … Given our rather tumultuous and uncertain times, it’s nice to remind ourselves of this kind of youthful joy.”

rholmen@vicnews.com

 

Mark your calendar

• What: Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

• Where: Royal Theatre

• When: Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 2 and 8 p.m.

• Tickets: Evening performances – $53.25 for adults, $48 for students and seniors. Matinees are $48.25 for adults and $40 for students and seniors, at rmts.bc.ca or 250-386-6121.

Just Posted

Victoria City Council approves inclusionary housing policy

After years of back and forth, the policy will be ratified in two weeks

Filipino Heritage Month event takes over Centennial Square

Dancing, music and food highlight Mabuhay Day celebration in Victoria

West Shore residents report finding anti-SOGI 123 flyers in mailboxes

SD62 trustee Ravi Parmar says the flyers are ‘garbage’

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read