Holly musical kicks off Clovis Musical Festival

Cast with Texas Tech students and a couple of professional actors, Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story has been performed 20 times this summer as part of the Lubbock Moonlight Musicals, according to Gerald Dolter, a Texas Tech University professor and the show’s producer.

Sharna Johnson

Kicking off the Clovis Music Festival, the story of Buddy Holly’s three-year rise to fame will be seen on a Clovis stage for the first time tonight.

And the show promises to be high energy, according to Gerald Dolter, director of “Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story.”

Cast with Texas Tech students and a couple of professional actors, the show has been performed 20 times this summer as part of the Lubbock Moonlight Musicals, said Dolter, a Texas Tech University professor.

Dolter said the cast is excited to perform in Clovis.

“It’s almost like a crowning achievement for us. We hope for a strong tie between Lubbock and Clovis,” he said. “It’s only right that we should have this show in his hometown and getting to do a show in Clovis is just the icing on the cake.”

A fully staged show, Dolter said the cast performs all music.

East Texan Andy Smith, who plays the part of Buddy Holly, learned guitar for the role, he said and bares a striking resemblance to the rock and roll legend.

“He’s very good. He’s really studied (Buddy). It’s really hard to tell the difference between the two of them,” he said.

“Andy’s one of the best that I’ve ever run into.”

Dolter said his group has been performing in the Wells Fargo outdoor amphitheater and tonight will be the first time they will perform the show on an indoor stage.

“Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story” opened in London in 1989 and has been performed more than 17,000 times worldwide, according to www.buddythemusical.com.

Dolter said John Banister, musical director from the London company, has worked closely with his group in producing the musical for Lubbock audiences.

A Lubbock native, Holly recorded in Clovis’ Norman Petty Studio.

He was killed Feb. 3, 1959, in an Iowa plane crash that also killed fellow rockers Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson.

The musical follows Holly’s story in the three years before his death, from the garage band days to the end of his life.

“I think we do it pretty well. We’re from Lubbock, so we certainly have the accent down,” Dolter said with a laugh.

“It’s a high energy show and they (the cast) bring youth to it … Boy we give it to them.”