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Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

Buddy Holly had a brief 18-month career. In that short time, the Lubbock-born rock and roller carved out a Mount Rushmore-like place in pop culture. He died, along with fellow performers Ritchie Valens, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and pilot Roger Peterson, in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. That became known as “the day the music died.” His dramatic story is told through the musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. The show, among the most successful jukebox musicals, stars 31-year old Albany, New York, native Todd Meredith. He was working on a music career when he got his acting break, and after 17 tours as Holly, he’s still enthusiastic about the rocker’s music.

Meredith notes he backed into a love of Holly after hearing the Beatles on his parents’ oldies stations. “The Beatles inspired me to pick up the guitar in the first place…later I discovered Buddy had been such an inspiration and hero to them. I’ve been playing Buddy’s songs 15 years now and I still find them fresh and fun. They’ve got that pure joy of rock and roll thing.”

Meredith attributes the huge success and long shelf life of the production to the power of Holly’s music as well as the unique drama surrounding Holly’s singular career. “It’s such a moving story about remarkable talent and creativity coming from this small-town kid. Coupled with the tragic ending, it’s hard not to find joy and inspiration in Buddy’s story. The trick is to keep it fresh, and with that in mind, the producer brought in some of the creative staff from the London production for this tour. They’ve made some very effective alterations that keep the show interesting and energetic.”

The two-hour performance features 20 Holly tunes including “Peggy Sue” and “Oh Boy!” as well as “La Bamba” by Richie Valens and “Chantilly Lace” by Beaumont singer The Big Bopper.

8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana. For information, call 713‑227‑4772 or visit spahouston.org. $28 to $78.
Fri., Feb. 6, 8 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 7, 2 & 8 p.m., 2015

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