In his desperately short life Buddy Holly changed the face of rock and roll to the extent that his death in a plane crash in 1959 alongside fellow musicians Richie Valens and the Big Bopper was eulogised as the Day the Music Died.

Critically acclaimed musical Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story relieves the massive success he achieved in just 22 years as well as bringing back his hits such as Peggy Sue and That’ll Be the Day.

We caught up with director Matt Salisbury before the show comes to Dartford’s Orchard Theatre from October 25 to 29.

When did you start working on the show and what other roles have you had over the years?

It all began in 1989. I was Company Manager for the entire time the show was running in London’s West End. From around 1996 I took on the role of Assistant Director.

I bet the atmosphere was electric before the opening night performance?

That’s an understatement. It was totally and utterly charged with excitement, trepidation and nerves. And not just from the cast. The technical teams had never worked on anything like this before; everyone had to be so focussed. You could feel the tension throughout the theatre.

Buddy took London by storm. There were stories in the press about the dress circle structure shaking at the Victoria Palace due to the audiences getting up and dancing during the show. Is that true?

Absolutely. It moved so much that you could visibly see it and dust would fall into the stalls. In the dress circle foyer you could feel the building move. However, it was perfectly safe as it was a cantilevered structure built in the 1910s and was supposed to move. However, it must have been a little unnerving if you happened to be on the front row or directly underneath.

What do you think it is about Buddy that keeps audiences coming to see the show year after year?

The music. The innocence of the story of Buddy and his growth as a teenager into a man and a musical genius. The energy we create and which the audiences absorb and then feed back to us. The sheer feel-good-factor that the show brings to the theatre night after night; it’s infectious and genuine and unbelievably powerful.

Over the years you’ve formed a very close relationship with Maria Elena Holly – she’s still an amazing supporter of the show isn’t she?

Totally. She does such a fantastic job in supporting us and all we do. I’ve been so lucky to get to know her quite well over the years and I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm she has and the un-swerving dedication she shows towards keeping Buddy and his legacy alive.

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is at the Orchard Theatre from October 25 to 29. Go to or call 01322 220000.

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