Bonney Lake resident brings Buddy Holly to life on the stage

Bonney Lake resident Ryan Coleman is a project manager for a general contractor for his day job, but lately he dons a white dinner jacket and black-framed glasses and turns into legendary singer Buddy Holly.

Plateau area residents got a glimpse of Coleman as Holly at the Festival of Crafts at the Enumclaw Expo Center in December, but will have the opportunity to catch more of him, along with Enumclaw’s Stephanie Leeper, at Summit Productions’ upcoming presentation of the “Tour of Stars” at the Auburn Avenue Theater.

The transformation for Coleman began when a friend asked him to play Holly in a Tacoma Little Theater production.

“I play guitar and I’ve been acting for years,” Coleman said. “He thought I was perfect for it. And actually, I love Buddy Holly.”

He said his parents played Buddy Holly’s music while he was growing up and he was always a favorite.

“The response has been great,” said Coleman, who has been working with local Elvis impersonator Danny Vernon.

In addition to his on-stage role, Coleman is president of the recently-created Summit Productions. Leeper, who appears in the production in a leading role and as a backup singer, serves as the Bonney Lake-based organization’s director of marketing.

“The show will let you experience the excitement of Buddy Holly’s final concert at the Auburn Avenue Theater,” Leeper said. “The music lives on in this live tribute to these pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll that were tragically taken from this world in a plane crash, February 3, 1959.”

Coleman said the performance is meant to take audience members back to the original Buddy Holly Winter Dance Party Tour.

“It was the last tour he did before he died,” Coleman said. “We’ll be recreating that show in a way.”

Joining Coleman on stage will be Paul Eddy as Ritchie Valens and Jim Kleinbeck as The Big Bopper. Backed by an eight-piece band, performers will sing favorites like “La Bamba,” “Chantilly Lace,”” That’ll Be the Day,” “Maybe Baby,” “Peggy Sue” and “Oh Boy!”

The curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. March 12 and March 13 and 2 p.m. March 14. Tickets are $15 for students and seniors and $17 for adults. Leeper said discounts are also available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available at or reserve tickets by calling 253-200-5905.

The Auburn Avenue Theater is at 10 Auburn Ave.

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