The Devonport Choral Society has just enjoyed a hugely successful season of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at the paranaple arts centre, with the addition of a performance to the initial 10 show run, and full houses across the board.
At the closing night celebrations with cast, band and crew, Director of Buddy, Sid Sidebottom, and President of the Society, Maree Brodzinski presented the Life Members and Patrons Bursary. “The generous DCS Life Member Bursaries recognise outstanding contributions to a production and are granted to further the recipients’ skills and interests in theatre and the Arts. Past recipients have gone on to attain professional qualifications and roles in acting, singing, musicianship, composing, and theatre production. The Coast has a long tradition of nurturing musical theatre and these bursaries help to encourage and reinforce this important regional cultural trend”, said Mr Sidebottom.
“This year, because a Bursary was not awarded in 2020, we were able to offer four Bursaries, going to some very deserving cast members”, said Ms Brodzinski. Ezra Shelverton, who played Buddy Holly in the show, received the major award, with Lucas Hodge, Zac Weeks, and Taylor Rand also receiving recognition for their contributions.
Mr Sidebottom said of the recipients, “These four talented, first-rate young adults who, along with their fellow singers and musicians, shared special chemistry on stage to create a very special Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.”
“We are now turning our attention to future projects including our major show for next year, Disney’s Freaky Friday”, said Ms Brodzinski. “Buddy will certainly be a hard act to follow, but we know we have the talent in our community and a strong team to make this Tasmanian premiere another smash hit. Audition announcements will be made after the Society’s September AGM and work has already begun behind the scenes.”
BY DAYNA DENNISON
Don McLean’s 1971 song, ‘American Pie’ refers to the tragic death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper as ‘The Day the Music Died’. Well, little did he account for Sid Sidebottom and his Devonport Choral Society’s 2021 cast, because if you visit the Town Hall over the next few weeks, it will be very clear that Buddy’s legacy and music is far from dead!
Jam-packed with twenty five of the 1950’s most iconic musical numbers, we can be excused for perhaps losing sight of the minimalistic story-line. That said, what a clever choice by the Dev Choral to select this deliberate concert-style show, safeguarding any unforeseen interruptions by Covid19. This tight, well-rehearsed ensemble of twelve, lead by Ezra Shelverton in the title role of Buddy Holly, spend one hundred long minutes returning energy and colour to the stage of the paranaple arts centre.
Belinda Gunson and Jenny Slater take us on a trip down memory lane with a finely detailed, era specific set design. Wendy McCrae has matched the pizzaz of performances with equally glamourous costumes, all supporting the audiences transportation into the 50’s. McCrae and Sidebottom have worked creatively to remain culturally sensitive and respectful, yet clever in their character portrayal of sassy, soulful performers at the Apollo, played exquisitely by Tash Turner and Erin Araroa. These ladies welcome us to the Apollo, establish strong audience participation which becomes a pivotal acceleration for the energy that just keeps building from there. The storyline is carried and narrated by the charismatic DJ, Hipockets Duncan, played by Joel King. It’s great to see him returning to his home stage.
A standout moment of intimate contrast was divinely played out by Shelverton and Buddy’s soon-to-be widowed bride, Maria Elena Santiago played convincingly by Taylor Rand. This tender moment occurs in Buddy and Maria’s New York Apartment, away from the bright lights of show biz and beautifully highlights the diverse skills of these two performers.
Joy oozed from the four young men playing the Crickets. Together with Shelverton, Zac Weeks (Joe B. Mauldin), Janzen Reynolds (Jerry Allison) and an incredibly mature performance from fourteen year old new-comer, Lucas Hodge (Niki Sullivan) made us all feel like the Crickets were the coolest band to be around. It’s hard to believe that Reynolds has never played the drums! Serious hours have obviously been invested in some hard-core characterisation and musicianship, backed by the well-honed Buddy Holly Orchestra, conducted competently by David Turner.
The show ends as dramatically as Buddy’s life, but the audience is left alone to briefly reflect before the energy returns, ensuring we leave the theatre feeling as alive as the music we’ve witnessed.
In light of recent local government decisions (not too far from Devonport) to make considerable cuts to community arts projects, I urge our community to support our local theatre companies doing their very best to provide arts experiences that move us, entertain us or challenge our thinking. Netflix screens can’t possibly provide the same amount of enjoyment, nor provide the much-needed injection of culturally rich entertainment for regional communities like ours. Book a restaurant, meet some friends and get along to NOT ONLY celebrate the life and music of Buddy Holly, but the reawakening of live theatre in Devonport.
North West Ambassador – National Musical Theatre Festival
Theatre Teacher, Don College
Photos by Jess Walker
Yesterday, the Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Veitch, confirmed that from 1 May 2021, organisers of large, seated gatherings in Tasmania will be able to apply to increase their capacity to 100 per cent.
The ease in restrictions will mean increased capacity at a range of seated venues including theatres, cinemas, concert venues, places of worship, funeral homes, stadiums and arenas. The requirement to use face masks at indoor venues will also be removed.
The new directions will implement recent recommendations made by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and bring Tasmania into line with most other Australian jurisdictions, which now permit 100% capacity at large seated events, subject to a range of COVID-safe measures.
Book your tickets to BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY now to avoid disappointment!
The Devonport Town Hall Theatre has been given the official all clear to stage larger-scale musicals and productions with 75% capacity, defined health and safety provisions around seating distances, the wearing of masks, and entry and exit provisions.
Don’t miss the first musical of the year – Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story.
Buddy is the account of a rock and roll legend, covering the three years from his transition from Country and Western, to his tragic departure from the world’s music scene. Following the rise and rise of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and then later Buddy as a soloist, this musical tribute contains some 26 classic songs from the late 1950s.
Directed by Sid Sidebottom, with music direction by David Turner and Bronwyn Darvell, Buddy showcases 25 sensational actors, singers and musicians from across the north of the State.
14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 May at 7.30pm 22 & 29 May at 1.30pm
Town Hall Theatre, paranaple arts centre
145 Rooke Street 03 6420 2900 paranapleartscentre.com.au
From 1 May 2021 Tasmanians and visitors will be required to use the Check In TAS app
when they attend a performance at the paranaple arts centre.
This exciting musical story about the life of a rock ‘n’ roll legend, covers the three short but prolific years from the beginning, arrival, and tragic departure of Buddy Holly on the world’s music scene. It contains some 20 classic songs from that era, and requires a cast of varying ages, talents, and gender. The production of around 90 mins (with an interval) will appeal to all ages.
DCS is looking to present a concert-style production with a strong emphasis on the songs and music of Buddy and the era. The production has a minimum of narrative beyond outlining Buddy’s life and those who closely influenced it.
Also, whilst males tend to dominate the key roles, there are some very strong singing/character roles for females, as well as playing/singing roles as some well-known singing groups of the era, and as studio back-up singers featured on numerous songs.
There is something like 11 key character roles. The total company of approximately 15 – males and females – will be required to play multiple parts.
Auditions are by appointment only and will be held at the Forth Primary School 23-25 October. To book an audition, call Maree on 0408 079 805.
We intend to perform BUDDY at the paranaple arts centre (Town Hall Theatre) from May 14-29, 2021.
##. NB: It is important to note that regulations
surrounding COVID-19 at the time of production will ultimately determine
whether our show goes on and the extent of audience size. We believe it is
better to prepare, enjoy, and try than to do nothing. One way or another, our
BUDDY will be performed!
THE BUDDY TEAM:
We are very fortunate to have a very experienced production team to work with our cast and musicians to stage this exciting musical.
Director ~ Sid Sidebottom; Producer ~ Maree Brodzinski; Band Leader ~ David Turner; Vocal Director ~ Bronwyn Darvell and 2nd keyboards; Guitar Tutor and Lead Guitarist ~ Simon McNeair; Assistant Director ~ Elizabeth Viney; Répétiteur ~ Michele Taylor; Costume Designer and Maker ~ Wendy McCrae; Set Designers~ Jenny Slater and Belinda Gunson; Set Construction ~ Max Darvell and Team; Properties Maker ~ David Dunn; Assistant Producer ~ Kimbra Westcott
ROSE OF TEXAS
FLOWER OF MY HEART
THAT’LL BE THE DAY
ROCK AROUND WITH OLLIE VEE
NOT FADE AWAY
WORDS OF LOVE
TRUE LOVE WAYS
STAR SPANGLED BANNER
WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE
PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED
RAINING IN MY HEART
ITS SO EASY
JOHNNY B. GOODE
OH BOY (encore)
The music contains a variety of styles from Country,
through Folk, lots of Rock and Roll, and Big Band numbers. It will require
various ensemble singing to back up the character songs across several genres.
A number of these roles can/will be played by the same player(s).
* Denotes mainly acting role; ## Denotes major character role & generally, singing; *** Denotes some singing.
##JOE B. MAULDIN
##4TH CRICKET (TOMMY)
##BIG BOPPER (2nd half)
##RITCHIE VALENS. (2nd half)
##NORMAN PETTY (2nd half)
##VI PETTY (2nd half)
##1 MALE AND 1 FEMALE PERFORMERS AT APOLLO (1st half) OR
*MURRAY DEUTCH (2nd half)
*M.C. AT CLEARLAKE (2nd half)
*SHIRLEY the Secretary
***JACK DAW AND THESNOWBIRDS (Singing Group 2nd half)
***HAYRIDERS Singing Group (1st half)*ENGLISH BBC DJ (2nd half)
***MUSICIANS and SINGERS AT CLEAR LAKE (the Band and Company in the final scene)
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
BUDDY is a high energy show requiring enthusiasm, energy, zest, and a real desire and determination to recreate the era and its music.
Whilst the lead role of Buddy will be played by the one player throughout the performances, every other player can play a variety of different character roles. Thus, most players need to be capable character actors and singers, both solo and parts singing.
Irrespective of what roles people are lucky enough to play in BUDDY, it is a requirement that everyone will attend every rehearsal as required, and learn their lines, music, moves etc as quickly and thoroughly as possible, thus allowing for productive rehearsals and workshops. Time is precious!
Experience dictates that players should only commit to one production at a time.
In musical theatre, it is ‘characters’ who sing, dance, and act!
# Ages are indicative, not prescriptive.
BUDDY – the leading player. The show’s anchor. Singer-songwriter and star from Lubbock, Texas. Buddy is intelligent, charismatic, 6 ft or over, preferably under 25. Must ‘play’ guitar, sing and act and have a real feel for rock ‘n’ roll. Must possess some serious ‘star potential’ and have the desire to live as a rock & roll superstar every performance! The role will require the player to comprehensively research and observe the life and music of Buddy Holly.
JOE B MAULDIN – A Cricket. Double Bass/Bass player from Lubbock, Texas. Preferably ‘mid-20s’. Serious, square young man with musical ability. Must be able to sing, ‘play’ bass, and act. This character is predominantly in the first third of the show and can/could play another role at the Clear Lake Concert at the end of the show.
JERRY ALLISON – A Cricket. Drummer, preferably ‘mid-20s’ from Lubbock, Texas. Good looking, irrepressible cheeky humour with musical ability. Must be able to act and sing. This character is predominantly in the first third of the show and can/could play another role at the Clear Lake Concert at the end of the show.
*NIKI SULLIVAN – the 4th Cricket. Guitarist, preferably ‘mid-20s’ look from Lubbock, Texas. Niki commenced with The Crickets and was originally part of the 4-part group. *It would be preferable that this person is a competent lead guitarist to ‘lead’ the on-stage musicians. This character is predominantly in the first third of the show and will play another role at the Clear Lake Concert at the end of the show if predominately a musician, possibly as Tommy Allsup.
MARIA ELENA HOLLY. Wife of Buddy. A significant character role. Attractive, ‘mid-20s’ of ‘Hispanic-American’ extraction. Classy and well-educated. Must be a good actress with plenty of character, and zest. Musical ability an advantage but not prohibitive. This player comes to prominence towards the middle of the show and is therefore available for early scene work as a backing singer if musical.
HIPOCKETS DUNCAN. A very significant character role as the show’s key narrator. Approximately 30-40+, an exuberant stereotypical hometown radio DJ from Lubbock, Texas, with an air of authority and a keen sense of humour. Must be a strong actor. The ability to sing is an advantage but not prohibitive.
J.P. RICHARDSON – THE BIG BOPPER A former DJ, he is a ‘Texan’ with an irrepressible larger-than-life character. 6 ft and above, with the ability to command the stage on his own as a single performer. His key song is Chantilly Lace. Must be able to act and should possess comedic flair along with a voice to sell Chantilly Lace – musically and comedically. This player’s key role occurs at the end of the show; hence he is available to play other roles throughout the show.
RITCHIE VALENS. Good looking, ‘under 25’ and of ‘Hispanic-American extraction’. Richie is an attractive, handsome lad with serious charisma, a dedicated eye for the ladies, and the ability to hold the stage in his own right. His key song is La Bamba. Must be a good singer and actor. This player’s key role occurs at the end of the show; hence he is available to play other roles throughout the show.
NORMAN PETTY – Record Producer. A significant character role. Approximately 30-40, a record producer from Clovis, New Mexico, with a businesslike manner and a love of making records. Must be a strong actor. The ability to sing is an advantage but not prohibitive.
VI PETTY. Approximately 30-40, the wife of Norman with a heart of gold, and a good sense of humour. A significant character role. Vi must be able to sing and be a strong character actress who preferably, but not necessarily, can play keyboards as she participates in the song Every Day with Buddy and The Crickets.
APOLLO CLUB PERFORMER 1 – Male/Female, ‘Harlem singer’, 25-60yrs.
Ability to hold the stage on his/her own. Must have good comic timing, be a good actor, and a charismatic singer. An ability to play a woodwind or brass instrument would be very useful but not essential. This player is eligible to play other supporting roles outside the Apollo Club scene which ends Act I.
APOLLO CLUB PERFORMER 2 – Female/Male, ‘Harlem singer’, 25-60yrs.
Ability to hold the stage on his/her own. Must have good comic timing, be a good actor, and a charismatic singer. This player is eligible to play other supporting roles outside the Apollo Club scene which ends Act I.
THE ENSEMBLE – All genders, all ages.
Must be able to sing, particularly part-singing, and have ability to act out a multitude of roles. (For example, Jingle singers, The Hayriders’ Country Singers, Shirley and Murray Deutch, backing singers, Jack Daws and the Snowbirds, several DJ roles, and Clear Lake Concert MC and singers. See many of these above in ROLES)
Each player needs to be zestful and flexible. A smallish but strong Ensemble is important to the success of our production of BUDDY.
The extent and number of non-principal role allocations will be determined by the quality and number of people auditioning for the show.
To book your audition, call Maree on 0408 079 805.
An information session for those wishing to audition for Devonport Choral Society’s 2021 production of BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY will be held at Forth Primary School Performing Arts Centre, Wilmot Road on Sunday 11 October. The session will start at 2pm.
The information session will be a great opportunity to meet the Production Team, find out more about the show and get some tips on what the Team will be looking for at auditions.
The production will be directed by Sid Sidebottom with vocal direction by Bronwyn Darvell, musical direction by David Turner and Simon McNeair.
BUDDY will require a musically-talented cast of 15 players to act out multiple roles in the life of Buddy Holly, as well as a small band to join the cast in presenting and playing the dynamic music of Buddy Holly and his contemporaries. Anyone thinking of auditioning or wishing to find out more should attend.
No bookings for auditions will be taken prior to the information session and additional information is not available until then. Auditions will be held 23 – 25 October, at the same venue. Auditions are by appointment only.
BUDDY: THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY will be performed at the paranaple arts centre (Town Hall Theatre) in May 2021.