Originally Published: January 9, 2014 6 a.m.
Don McLean's famous lyric in his "American Pie" song, "The Day the Music Died," has become an iconic tribute to rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.
But the music of this famous trio has not met its demise since their deaths in a plane crash in 1959, and will come to life again in Prescott Saturday when Lonely Street Productions presents "Rave On" at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.
The performance will celebrate the music of the Winter Dance Party tour, which was the final concert of the legendary musicians.
Actor, singer, dancer and musician Jared Mancuso is one in the Rave On cast, and, as he sings Holly's songs, he finds the impact Holly had on the music scene "fascinating." He said it amazes him that Holly had so many hit songs over such a short time period. And this, he noted, was in the day before sophisticated technologies helped promote stardom. "He didn't have the internet," Mancuso said. "He had just word of mouth. It's just fascinating."
Mancuso, 27, says he has been a performer since he "slept in a crib." When he was 3 years old, he began taking tap-dancing lessons after he was "spotted dancing around to his sister's dance recital tapes." He was then on to piano lessons and more dance lessons. He performed in school productions, and then decided to take his talent "seriously" and continued his education with an eye on a career in theater. He completed his bachelor's degree in theater performance, with a minor in musical theater, from Marymount Manhattan College.
At just 27, he has performed in a variety of musicals, has directed short films, has produced and recorded EP's for bands and written music for himself and his band, Strike of the Heart.
"I love being able to create things," Mancuso said. "It's built into me to want to perform and create. I love doing it. I just keep going."
Rave On begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets, $26 each, are on sale at the college's Performing Arts Center ticket office, 1100 E. Sheldon St. Call the ticket office at 776-2000 or order tickets online at www.ycpac.com.
In honor of Holly, Valens and the Big Bopper, Rave On will feature such hits as "Peggy Sue," "La Bamba," "Chantilly Lace," and "A Teenager in Love." The show will also pay tribute to Dion and the Belmonts.
Mancuso said playing the music of Buddy Holly has helped him be a better guitarist.
But, he said, the Rave On cast members, which also include Nick Gallardo and David Simmons, "play ourselves." And, they will add tidbits of history about the Winter Dance Party.
"The audience can expect a good time, with a lot of everybody's favorite songs," Mancuso said. "Anybody who remembers these songs will connect right away. Everybody will want to be up dancing."
For Mancuso, it's "a dream role to do Buddy Holly."