Buddy - which returned to the West End last year after a five-year absence and which has been nominated for Best Musical Revival in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards – has extended its run by a further nine weeks. Opened at the Duchess Theatre on 7 August 2007 (previews from 3 August), it is now taking bookings through to 30 August 2008

The show - a tribute to the late, great rock 'n' roll singer Buddy Holly who died in a plane crash on 3 February 1959, aged 22 - premiered at the West End's Victoria Palace on 12 October 12 1989, before transferring on 6 October 1995 to the Strand Theatre (now the Novello), round the corner from the Duchess on the Aldwych. It finished there on 3 March 2002 and has since continued to tour nationally and internationally. The Duchess is Buddy’s third West End home.

The musical is co-written by Alan Janes (who also produces) and Rob Bettinson (who also directs). The pair subsequently collaborated on the West End musical Jailhouse Rock. Dean Elliott and Matthew Wycliffe alternate in the role of Buddy.


Meanwhile, The Sound of Music, which won last year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Musical Revival, has added another seven months to its schedule at the West End’s London Palladium, where it’s now taking bookings through to 18 October 2008.

Starring as nun-turned-nanny Maria von Trapp in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway classic, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? winner Connie Fisher finishes her contract on 23 February 2008, and is expected to be succeeded by Summer Strallen in a tie-in with her current role in ITV teen soap Hollyoaks (See News, 4 Jan 2008).

The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway in 1959, when it won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show first opened in London in 1961 and its last London revival was in 1981, both productions having record-breaking runs. The 1965 Hollywood film, which starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, won five Oscars, including Best Picture.

The London revival is directed by Jeremy Sams and designed by Robert Jones, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, sound by Mick Potter, lighting by Mark Henderson and musical supervision by Simon Lee. It’s presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian, the Really Useful Group and Live Nation. The current cast also features Simon Burke (Captain von Trapp), Fiona Sinnott (the Baroness), Paul Grunert (Max), Amy Lennox (Liesl), Luke Fredericks (Rolf), Margaret Preece (Mother Abbess) and Fisher’s fellow How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? finalist Aoife Mulholland (alternate Maria).

- by Terri Paddock