Recently, my wife and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary. Part of our Honeymoon included a visit to Carmel (officially known as Carmel by the Sea). Over the years we have returned to this quaint little town simply to enjoy its charm. This year Isaura told me she’d like to go back for our anniversary. So, I got busy.
I went on the internet to see what restaurants in Carmel she might like. Being Portuguese from San Miguel, the Azores, she always enjoys European dining. I spent several years in Europe as a kid and was forever spoiled living in Paris. Once you’ve been exposed to French cuisine you are spoiled for life. The French know how to cook!
So I found a quaint French restaurant whose name is bigger than the restaurant itself: Patisserie Boisierre. I made a reservation for 5:30 pm which is also the time they open for dinner. We arrived in Carmel in time to give Isaura an opportunity to do some window shopping. As the time for dinner approached, I wandered over to the restaurant so I could be the first one in. The lady who opened the door smiled and asked me where we’d like to sit. I pointed to a table by a window that was absolutely perfect. Isaura walked in a few minutes later. It was an excellent restaurant! Isaura had the salmon baked in parchment paper. I went with their chicken pot pie where, instead of a flour crust, they use mashed potatoes. Delicious!
However, it was the dessert counter that grabbed us! As you come through the front door, you are looking at a chilled case filled with unbelievable French pastry. After eating the entrée, we stood before this display of after-dinner elegance vainly attempting to decide which dessert to choose. We’re talking about: Crème Brulee, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Mocha Custard, Black Forest Cake, etc. Isaura chose the Strawberry Triangle, and I had the Bread Pudding. Yum!
We had to tear ourselves away from the restaurant because we had reservations for a musical a few blocks away. The PacRep Theatre (Pacific Repertory Theatre) was performing “The Buddy Holly Story.” Growing up during the early days of Rock and Roll, I couldn’t wait to see this performance. My friend and retired Navy doctor, Will Harrison, sent me an e-mail recently announcing that his son was performing in this production. The e-mail included a YouTube video of a scene featuring his son, Scott Free (that’s his stage name – I love it!) playing the role of the Big Bopper. Another actor played the role of Ritchie Valens. Many of you remember that time when Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens had performed a concert together in Iowa. That evening they boarded a plane for their next concert. The plane crashed and these three icons of rock and roll were killed. Don McLean wrote a song years later, entitled, “American Pie,” in which he referred to this loss as “The Day the Music Died.”
I’ve attended a lot of repertory productions over the years across the country and most are very well done. This one, especially as a musical, is outstanding. You do not want to miss this! Travis Poelle, the actor who plays Buddy Holly, is “spot on,” as our British friends would say. He looks just like him, sounds just like him, and he plays a mean electric guitar for all the music. It is uncanny how Travis sings like Buddy Holly, including Buddy’s unique “hiccup” style. His backup band of two, and sometimes three, guys playing the Crickets are all terrific musicians. You would be hard pressed to differentiate between the original Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and the performance of these actors in this musical. Though there are a lot of speaking parts, everything centers on Buddy Holly and the Crickets singing and playing. The finale with Buddy, Ritchie and the Big Bopper is priceless! And you definitely don’t want to miss the scene when they are invited to play at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. What a hoot!
Here are some of the songs they perform live: That’ll be the Day, Everyday, Maybe Baby, Peggy Sue, Peggy Sue Got Married, Heartbeat, Raining in my Heart, It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, Rave On, Johnny B Goode, and Oh Boy.
Now add to this Scott Free as the Big Bopper singing and playing his classic, Chantilly Lace, and Davitt Felder as Ritchie Valens singing and playing La Bamba, and this is one heck of a show! Members of the audience were dancing in the aisles!
The Buddy Holly Story plays through August 3rd, so I suggest you get right to it and make plans to catch this performance. It will bring back lots of nostalgic memories as well as put a smile on your face.
It is currently being performed at the Golden Bough Theatre in Carmel. You can buy tickets by calling the box office at 831-622-0100, or go on-line at: www.pacrep.org.
Trust me! You’ll thank me for it.