After a five-year absence, Buddy rocked back into the West End last night (7 August 2007, previews from 3 August), opening at the Duchess Theatre where two actors – Matthew Wycliffe (taking the honours at the press performance) and Dean Elliott – alternate in the title role.

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.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE BUDDY 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

The musical is co-written by Alan Janes (who also produces) and Rob Bettinson (who also directs). In addition to Elliott and Wycliffe, the cast also features Greg Last, Nick Sayce, Lee Ormsby, Miguel Angel, Sean Needham and Lucia Rovardi. The production is designed by Adrian Rees, with John Banister acting as musical director.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call and post-show party at the Duchess Theatre. Other first night guests included former England football captain Gerry Francis and Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh, a friend of cast member Lucia Rovardi and a fan of musical theatre, who was being trailed by a TV crew filming a Girls Aloud documentary.

- by Terri Paddock