Rockin’ Omahans Take the Stage

Aiming to keep Buddy Holly’s spirit alive.


Rocking Billy McGuigan is back in town. The guy, sometimes called America’s premier Buddy Holly interpreter, is here to strut such stuff.  His love for rock goes way back, to a time when his Air Force dad got Billy and brothers Matthew and Ryan connected to that kind of music.

They all lived in Omaha. “It’s home,” Billy says. “There’s this sense of community here that I’ve never seen before.” As for the connection to Holly, Billy starred in the 2002 Omaha Community Playhouse musical Buddy, which set box office records.  He and the show were “embraced by the city,” he enthuses. “We were ‘it’; and that’s hard to find.” Taking off from there, McGuigan created his own Holly revue, Rave On, which has toured everywhere. It now takes the stage at the very same Playhouse.

Those brothers are part of the six-member band, Matthew as singer and bassist, Ryan as singer and guitarist. Percussionist Rich Miller’s from around these parts, too, born and bred in Hastings, NE. The UNL grad now lives in Omaha. So do lead guitarist and singer Jay Hanson, plus pianist/singer Tara Vaughan.  More info at: http://www.billymcguigan.com/rave-on

Buddy Holly’s lead guitarist, Grammy Award-winner Tommy Alsup cheered “Rave On is the best Buddy Holly show out there.”  Alsup also performed with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper. Those two legends are paid musical homage in these performances, as are Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.

Omaha buddies keep rockin’ on.

Rave On runs through June 10- 26 at Howard Drew Theatre, Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Thurs.-Sat.: 7:30 p.m. Sunday: 2 p.m. Tickets $40.  www.OmahaPlayhouse.org


Category: Art, Literary
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