Blue Bridge takes on rendition of Buddy Holly’s life

Theatre company brings Vancouver production to Victoria

Jeremy Holmes

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

The value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020 (Peninsula News Review)
Value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020

New figures also show 25 per cent increase in number of new secondary suites

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

A 19-year-old man is in police custody following a recent violent robbery and assault in Comox . (File photo)
Arrest made in violent robbery and assault of Comox gas station employee

19-year-old man in police custody after incident where woman was putting things in her car

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read