“Buddy’s been great. Audiences love it!”
- Ron Peluso, Artistic Director, History Theatre, St. Paul, Minnesota
Nicholas Freeman (second left) starring as Buddy Holly is joined by Ryan Janssen, Zach Spicer and Blake Foster as the Crickets
“Buddy is great fun, a show that taps into the ebullience of youth and the rowdy rebellion of rock ‘n’ roll as it started to drive a wedge between generations. You won’t feel a safe distance from anything at History Theatre’s Buddy, and that works great for a show about a wildfire change in popular culture.
“And it sounds good, as Holly’s music is performed live onstage by Nicholas Freeman and a four-piece backing band while others evoke R&B acts on the bill at New York’s Apollo Theater the evening of Holly’s color-line-busting 1957 performance.
“It’s a credit to director Ron Peluso to see that Buddy doesn’t work as a museum piece. It needs to be not only living history, but twisting, leaping, jitterbugging, windmilling and rockabilly-style hiccupping history... this cast and the intimate staging drop you so convincingly into the thrill of the moment that you’re almost guaranteed to exit smiling”
- Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press
Lynnea Monique Doublette (L), Nicholas Freeman (centre), and Munyaradzi Tirivepi during Apollo scene
“...After Lynnea Monique Doublette and Munyaradzi Tirivepi deliver a show-stopping rendition of 'Shout' that’s one of the evening’s highlights, Holly and his bandmates go into four consecutive numbers, capped by a deliriously energizing ‘Oh Boy’. Similarly the second act culminates in a Clear Lake concert so contagiously appealing that it brings the audience to its feet... (Nicholas Freeman) brings a strong stage presence and demonstrates an uncanny ability to channel Holly's distinctive vocalizations. He's supported in fine fashion by actor/musicians Ryan Janssen, Zach Spicer and Blake Foster as the Crickets. Andrea San Miguel turns in an affecting performance as Holly’s wife while Brant Miller is a hilarious clown as the Big Bopper.
“Gary Rue’s spot-on musical direction, with assistance from Andrew Fleser, and Jan Puffer’s crisp and energetic choreography, along with (Ron) Peluso’s snappy pacing beautifully re-create the era and the ambience of excitement that surrounded young Holly’s music... Buddy succeeds by focusing not so much on ‘the day the music died’ as on how joyously Holly brought it to life”
- Lisa Brock, Star Tribune
“…this show is great fun... History Theatre is co-producing this Alan Janes play with the McNally Smith College of Music. Director Ron Peluso and musical director Gary Rue provide an entertaining production that seeks more to recreate the early excitement of rock and roll rather than to simply tell a rock biopic... Nicholas Freeman, a talented singer and musician, succeeds in capturing the essence of Holly in the musical numbers. He is joined on stage by other remarkable musicians as his band members, including Ryan Janssen and Zac Spicer... Although Holly’s songs are impressive, the highlight of the show was the energetic musical number 'Shout' performed by Lynnea Monique Doublette and Munyaradzi Tirivep...”
- Bev Wolfe, Twin Cities Daily Planet / Minneapolis Sun Times
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