Buddy - which returned to the West End last year after a five-year absence and was nominated for Best Musical Revival in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards – has extended its run by a further seven months. Opened at the Duchess Theatre on 7 August 2007 (previews from 3 August), it is now taking bookings through to 28 March 2009.
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 in the Theatre Partners production. Commenting on the latest extension, Janes said: “We are delighted that Buddy will be rockin’ the Duchess Theatre through to 2009, the 20th year of the show and the 50th anniversary of ‘The Day The Music Died’ as Don McLean called the death of Buddy Holly in his song ‘American Pie’.”
Meanwhile, at the St Martin's Theatre, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest-running play, has announced a new six-month booking period, taking it up to 1 November 2008. The classic whodunit - which celebrated its 50th West End anniversary, with HM The Queen in attendance, on 25 November 2002 - has become a Theatreland institution. The show originally opened next door at the Ambassadors and transferred to St Martin’s, after 20 years in its original home, in 1974. The Mousetrap is directed by David Turner.
- by Terri Paddock