Need to beat the suddenly dark and cold weather with a warm bath of rollicking rock and roll?
Drama Dock, Vashon’s venerable theater company, has just the ticket for that — “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” opening Thursday, Nov. 10, at Vashon Center for the Arts, with performances continuing through Saturday, Nov. 12.
The jukebox musical, stuffed with Buddy Holly’s music and other early rock classics, debuted in London in 1989.
Since then, it has won a slew of awards, with productions on the West End and Broadway, and toured to almost every corner of the globe — such is the lasting appeal, expertly delivered up in the show, of Holly’s music.
In 2007, the show was a hit for the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, thanks in part to a high-octane star turn by Billy Joe Huels — a triple-threat actor/singer/musician who embodied the title role.
Now, “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” has finally arrived on Vashon, complete with Huels reprising his role as the talented Texan, wearing pop-bottle eyeglasses, who left Lubbock in the 1950s to blaze a trail to fame while changing the trajectory of rock and roll.
To listen to Holly’s music never fails to astound — his genius gave us the unforgettable melodies and rhythms of “Everyday,” “That’ll Be The Day,” “Not Fade Away,” “Peggy Sue,” “True Love Ways,” “Maybe Baby,” and many other unforgettable songs included in the show.
And Holly did it all in just a few short years, topping the charts and touring widely before his tragic death in a plane crash in 1959.
But in Vashon’s production of the show, the talented and energetic cast brings Holly, and his high times, back to life.
Drama Dock’s artistic director, Lisa Peretti, has helmed the show, bringing her trademark mix of talent from both Vashon and the Seattle theater scene together to take the stage.
The cross-pollination feels just right in “Buddy,” with Huels front and center, but surrounded by a number of standout local triple threats, including Gavin Kovite and Maggie Laird.
All the local performers in the show shine, including Jeff Hoyt, convincingly making his theatrical debut in the show in a familiar real-life role, as deejay/narrator of the proceedings.
Also spotted on the stage are more local music scene heroes, including percussionist Todd Zimberg and trumpeter Barry Cooper — joining a bandstand that also includes expert off-island horn players Tom “Diz” Carroll and Greg Schroeder.
The show boasts the big voices and electric stage presence of islanders Chantel Jackson and Dianne Kutzke, as hosts and singers at Harlem’s Apollo Theatre, in scenes that recount Holly’s history-making performance at the legendary venue.
Other high-spirited performances come from Kelly Van Camp and Franco Weaver, who portray two other legends sadly lost in the same plane crash that took Holly’s life — the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.
It’s a show that is certain to leave audiences with Holly’s, the Bopper’s and Valens’ diabolically danceable earworms locked in their heads. But even better, it’s also a beautiful reminder of the resilience, charm and talent to be found in Vashon’s vibrant local theater scene.
Bravo, Drama Dock! Rock on.
Find out more about the show and get tickets at dramadock.org and vashoncenterforthearts.org. Performances will take place from Nov. 10 through 12, at Vashon Center for the Arts.