Buddy will croon for the last time in the West End this weekend. The ever-popular bio-musical, currently playing at the Strand Theatre, will finish a run of nearly twelve and a half years in the West End this Sunday, 3 March 2002, when its 4.00pm performance will be its last. A UK-wide tour is expected to launch this summer.

The show - a tribute to the late, great rock 'n' roll singer Buddy Holly who died in a plane crash, aged 22 - premiered at the West End's Victoria Palace on 12 October 12 1989, before transferring to the Strand 6 October 1995.

The title role is currently being played by Gus MacGregor, who was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award last year in the category Best Actor in a Musical. Also in the show are Ricky Rojas as Richie Valens and John-Simon Rawlings as the Big Bopper.

Buddy has been a worldwide success, playing in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Hamburg, Holland, Sweden and South Africa, in addition to a Broadway run and US tour. In London alone, it is estimated to have been seen by more than seven million people.

Scripted by Alan Janes and directed by Rob Bettinson, who later collaborated on another bio-musical, Jolson, Buddy is designed by Andy Walmsley, with costumes by Bill Butler, lighting by Graham McLusky and sound by Rick Price.

Following Buddy, the English Touring Theatre production of Peter Gill's new play The York Realist will have a limited six-week season at the Strand Theatre, from 8 March to 20 April 2002. Starring Richard Coyle and Lloyd Owen, the acclaimed play has just completed an extended sell-out run at the Royal Court Theatre.

- by Terri Paddock