OPENING TUESDAY, 7 August 2007 (previews from 3 August), Buddy returns to the West End after a five-year absence, this time making its (third) home at the Duchess Theatre . 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 in 1995 to the Strand Theatre (now the Novello) where it finished in March 2002. The musical is co-written by Alan Janes (who also produces) and Rob Bettinson (who also directs). Dean Elliott and Matthew Wycliffe alternate in the role of Buddy.
ALSO ON TUESDAY, Olivier Award winners Maria Friedman and Daniel Evans - who appeared at the Royal Festival Hall last month in the high-profile presentation of Sweeney Todd (See News, 14 Jun 2007) - reunite for another dose of Stephen Sondheim (See News, 31 Jul 2007). The concert celebration of the American composer and lyricist, entitled Good Thing Going - Simply Sondheim, runs for five nights only to 11 August 2007, at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, south London. The four vocalists – also including Graham Bickley and Mary Carewe – are accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Simon Green narrates and directs.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July), Grease Is the Word reality TV winners Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden make their West End debuts as Danny and Sandy in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre (See News, 11 Jun 2007). The 1972 Broadway musical was immortalised by the 1979 film version, in which John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John played the high school sweethearts. The musical originally ran for six years in the West End, first at the Dominion and then at the Cambridge, 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 David Ian (a judge on Grease Is the Word and Paul Nicholas.
Grease - which has book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey - is directed by David Gilmore and choreographed by Arlene Phillips. 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).
OPENING FRIDAY, 10 August 2007, the National Youth Theatre presents a season of two plays - Tanika Gupta’s White Boy (starting tonight) and Marcy Kahan’s 20 Cigarettes (starting 15 August) – which continues in rep until 1 September (See News, 28 Mar 2007).
- by Terri Paddock