London fringe venue Upstairs at the Gatehouse is staging the first new production of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story since the jukebox musical closed at the West End's Duchess Theatre last year (See News, 12 Nov 2008).

The production, which opens later this month (16 March to 18 April 2010, previews from 12 March), features a cast of 12 actor-musicians, and is helmed by Gatehouse artistic director John Plews.

Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, Plews said: “I've always been a huge Buddy Holly fan, and I asked Josef Weinberger if I could do the first production of it once the rights were released. Aside from being a show I'm keen to do, it's also a way of showing the West End that fringe venues can tackle big shows. Because it's a smaller cast, we've had to do a bit of doubling up, but apart from that we're not making any wholesale changes from the original.”

“We've had a lot of interest in it from people who saw the show in the West End or on tour, but are keen to see it done in a smaller space. Most of them remember it for making them dance in the aisles – with ours they'll be dancing on the stage!”

Plews also revealed he has received a phone call from Buddy's widow, Marie Elena Holly, to wish him luck for the production.

The cast is led by newcomer Roger Rowley as Buddy Holly, and also features: Jos Slovick (Spring Awakening), Henry Barrett (Crazy For You), Andrew Ashford, Emily Altneu, Jason Blackwater, Deanna Farnell, Sean Green, Richie Hart, Patrick Rowe, Nicky Swift and Alex Wadham.

The show - a tribute to rock 'n' roll singer Buddy Holly, who died in a plane crash in 1959 - 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). It finished there on 3 March 2002, returning to the Duchess five years later, in 2007. Since then it has continued to tour nationally and internationally.