The West End’s latest musical arrivals – the reality TV-cast Grease and the return of Buddy Holly bio-musical Buddy - have both announced extensions to their booking periods ahead of their back-to-back opening nights next week.

At the Duchess Theatre (See News, 2 May 2007), Buddy, which opens on Tuesday 7 August 2007 (previews from 3 August), has added an extra six months to its schedule. Initially booking until 5 January 2008, it is now selling through to 28 June 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.

At the Piccadilly Theatre (See News, 11 Jun 2007), Grease, which opens on Wednesday 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July), has an added four months to its booking period, taking it up to 14 June 2008. Grease Is the Word winners Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden make their West End debuts as high school sweethearts Danny and Sandy.

Grease is directed by David Gilmore, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, and produced by Grease Is the Word judge David Ian and Paul Nicholas, by arrangement with Robert Stigwood. The new West End cast also features How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’s Siobhan Dillon (as Patty Simcox), Sean Mulligan (Kenickie), Jayde Westaby (Rizzo) and Alana Phillips (Frenchy).

The 1972 Broadway musical was immortalised by the 1979 film version, in which John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John played Danny and Sandy. The musical originally ran for six years in the West End, first at the Dominion and then at the Cambridge Theatre, returning to London for a short run back at the Dominion in 2001 and at the Victoria Palace in 2002/3. In between, it has toured the UK extensively, produced since 1993 by Ian.

Grease has book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. It’s now-famous songs include “Summer Nights”, “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee”, “We Go Together”, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “Beauty School Dropout”, “You’re the One That I Want”, “Greased Lightnin’” and “Grease Is the Word”.

- by Terri Paddock