Broadway World Las Vegas: by Debbie Hall Apr. 19, 2017
In 1959, pioneers of rock Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were part of the Winter Dance Party tour when their plane crashed in an Iowa cornfield. But the music and their contribution lives on and John Mueller‘s “Winter Dance Party” will pay tribute to the artists, their music and legacy at the South Point Showroom in the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa April 21-23.
Hosted by John Mueller (as Buddy Holly), the tribute show re-creates the iconic legends’ final tour during a high-energy, two-hour live performance. Fans can sing and dance to the trio’s iconic hit songs of the ’50s, including “That’ll Be the Day,” “Donna,” “La Bamba,” “Chantilly Lace” and “Crazy Blues.”
Mueller’s parents were older when he was born and the family listened to the music of 1950s. “My older Brother Loved Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry and it struck a chord with me too,” Mueller told BroadwayWorld.com. “My friends would make fun of me but I kept listening.”
He grew up and followed a career in acting, first in Chicago and then in Los Angeles. While Mueller is also a musician and plays guitar, he was focused on acting. Set up for audition as Buddy Holly for a television show, Mueller brought the trademark Buddy Holly frames and guitar.
“I strummed by guitar and I was cast on the spot,” he explained. “I didn’t realize that I resembled Buddy so much.”
After that television appearance, Mueller was cast in musical “The Buddy Holly Story.” Audience members would comment that while they didn’t care for the play, they loved the music. After touring with the show for a few years, Mueller decided to create “Winter Dance Party” and focus on the music. The show debuted in 1996 and has been touring throughout the years.
The passing of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper has affected popular culture. In 1971, Don McLean released “American Pie,” which lamented, “the day the music died” in reference to the plan crash and loss. The song reached No. 1 in 1972 and No. 12 when it was reissued in 1991.
Lou Diamond Phillips starred as Richie Valens in the biopic “La Bamba” released in 1987. An original soundtrack with some of the “Winter Party Songs” was released and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama in 1988.
“They were all unique performers and this makes it fun for the audience,” Mueller said. A documentary about the show is being produced with an anticipated completion date in 2018. Mueller also works on other projects including original music but mainly focuses on the tour.
John Mueller‘s “Winter Dance Party” will be performed in South Point Showroom in the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa April 21-23. To purchase tickets, click here. For more information about the show and Mueller, visit winterdanceparty.com.