The Bakersfield Fox Theater Presents
John Mueller's Winter Dance Party
Buddy Holly played by John Mueller, Ritchie Valens played by Ray Anthony, Big Bopper played by Linwood Sasser
2001 H St.
Bakersfield, CA, 93301
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM
Watch & Listen
John Mueller's Winter Dance Party
John Mueller’s “Winter Dance Party” ® is the official live and authentic re-creation of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper's final tour and the only show endorsed by the Holly, Valens and Richardson estates. Each live concert performance includes over two hours of unbridled, high voltage entertainment featuring all the hit songs of the 50's era: That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy, Rave on, La Bamba, Chantilly Lace, and many, many more.
John Mueller, the critically acclaimed former star of the U.S. touring version of the London/Broadway hit musical "Buddy..the Buddy Holly Story," performs as Buddy Holly and Linwood Sasser fills the legendary footsteps of the Big Bopper. Ray Anthony performs as Ritchie Valens and is a renowned star of the "Legends of Rock and Roll" show at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas. The very authentic and energetic four piece band (guitar, drums, stand up bass and sax) includes Grammy award winning Mike Acosta on saxaphone.
The Winter Dance Party show has performed in front of over 2 million people on national TV for the Jerry Lewis Telethon, has toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada at theatres, performing arts centers, ballrooms, corporate events, casinos and even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with John Mellencamp, Marshall Crenshaw and others.
Highlights over the years have included receiving the keys to the city of Green Bay, WI from the Mayor, playing in the legendary Surf ballroom on the same day Buddy, Ritchie, and the Big Bopper did 40 years prior and performing on stage with Maria Elena Holly (Buddy's widow), Niki Sullivan (an original Cricket band member) and Tommy Allsup (original Winter Dance Party guitarist and legendary Nashville producer.)
"Flawless….rings as clear and true as a chord from a Fender Stratocaster."
-The Chicago Tribune
"An air tight band with energy-packed execution of a long string of classics. Rather
than museum pieces or mere fodder for oldies radio, these songs had all the vitality
and punch that they carried 41 years ago."
-Springfield State Journal Register
"Winter Dance Party captures Holly era…a dead-on re-creation of the '59 show."
"One of the best concerts I've ever seen."
-Larry Holly (Buddy's brother)
"John Mueller(as Buddy Holly) gives a stunning portrayal. Highly recommended."
-Chicago Sun Times
Buddy Holly played by John Mueller
Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, John bears a striking resemblance to Holly.
He has had a successful professional acting career including guest roles on E! Entertainment, Ellen, Lois and Clark, Brisco County Jr. and recently the film Bloodline which also featured two of John’s original songs but his real passion has remained with Buddy Holly and rock and roll.
John first appeared as Buddy Holly in the world stage premiere of Be Bop A Lula in Hollywood. It was produced by Adam Ant and John Densmore of the Doors. He then won a Drama Desk Award and critical acclaim for his portrayal in the theatrical production of Buddy..the Buddy Holly Story at Kansas City's famed American Heartland Theatre. John has held this role in many other cities including, San Diego, Chicago, Toronto, Miami and garnered rave reviews. The Chicago Tribune: "John Mueller is living proof that Buddy Holly's legacy lives on. His lovingly detailed portrayal rings as clearly as a chord from a Fender Stratocaster. His performance is flawless." The Chicago Sun Times: "John Mueller gives a stunning portrayal." The Los Angeles Times: "Buddy rocks with the charismatic John Mueller in the title role."
John has also performed with several members of Buddy Holly's band including Tommy Allsup, Carl Bunch, and the late Niki Sullivan. John is most proud of the praise from Niki Sullivan, a former member of Buddy's band, The Crickets: "John is a reincarnation of Buddy Holly. He is that good.” In addition, John has also won praise from Maria Elena Holly, Buddy's widow and Buddy's own brothers Larry and Travis.
Since 1999, every year has found John touring the frozen U.S. midwest to recreate the Winter Dance Party that was to be Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper's final tour. John has played in every remaining ballroom that the originals did over 44 years ago. The concert also features the son of the Big Bopper and has been described by critics and public alike as the most authentic re-creation ever done and has even garnered John the keys to the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin. John has also raised monies for musical scholarships from these concerts.
Recently, John was proud to have performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with John Mellencamp, Marshall Crenshaw, Nanci Griffith, and Joe Ely to name a few. Other highlights include a live TV appearance with over 2 million viewers nationwide on the Jerry Lewis Telethon and also performing a live sing-a-long version of "Peggy Sue" with over 48,000 fans at Texas Tech University's halftime show.
John takes an authentic approach to Buddy's music. He plays Holly's songs true to their original form on a reissued 1957 Fender Stratocaster--the exact year and make of Buddy's guitar and uses the same heavy flatwound guitar strings that Buddy used. John is indeed living proof that Buddy Holly lives on.
Ritchie Valens played by Ray Anthony
Ray is a veteran of the music industry. A talented musician, Ray is a self-taught guitar player, bass player, drummer, and songwriter. Some career highlights include “Rock and Roll Heaven”, “Legends of Rock and Roll”, “Superstars in Concert”, and performing as a guest artist in major hockey arenas in Canada. United States credits include “Legends In Concert,” “Legendary Stars,” and “50’s at the Hop” in Branson, MO. He has worked with legendary Elvis associates such as Charlie Hodge, and JD Sumner.
Ray was first turned onto rock and roll at the age of 7 while watching Elvis Presley in the “1968 Comeback Special”. He was inspired to stand in front of the mirror shaking his leg just like the king of rock and roll. Ironically, the Ritchie Valens tribute fell into Ray’s lap. While performing his 50’s and 60’s single act throughout Canada and the US, audience members began making reference to Ray’s uncanny resemblance to Lou Diamond Phillips in the 1987 film “La Bamba” and ever since he has become synonymous with Ritchie Valens. He has earned the praise of Ritchie Valens own family with Irma Valens (Ritchie’s sister) proclaiming, “Everytime I see Ray perform as Ritchie it brings a tear to my eye.”
Based in Las Vegas, Ray performs frequently with the “Legends In Concert” show at the Imperial Palace. Ray’s energetic approach to entertaining an audience plus his amazing live guitar playing equal an unparalleled “Ritchie” tribute.
Big Bopper played by Linwood Sasser
Linwood has always been a little bit big and boppin' – seems to be what he does the best. Linwood has performed with John Mueller's Winter Dance Party ® as the Big Bopper since 2008. You may have also seen him perform as Jake Blues in the Blues Brothers Show at Universal Studios Florida throughout the 1990's until 2001.
Linwood Sasser graduated from the Florida State University School of Theater and has had a successful acting career. He has been directed by both Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks in featured movie roles and was recently featured in "The 1950's Wake Up", a national J.C. Penney commercial starring Ellen DeGeneres.
Though born in the Panama Canal Zone, Linwood currently resides in Simi Valley, CA and works currently as an actor in Los Angeles. He is thrilled to be carrying on the great music of the Big Bopper.
$15.00 - $40.00