Buddy - which returned to the West End last year after a five-year absence (See News, 2 May 2007) – has posted closing notices at the Duchess Theatre. It opened there on 7 August 2007 (previews from 3 August) and, after numerous extensions, had been booking through to 28 March 2009. It will now finish on 7 February 2009.

The show - a tribute to the late, great rock \'n\' roll singer Buddy Holly - 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 in the Theatre Partners production.

A separate regional tour - coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death in a plane crash on 3 February 1959, aged 22 – launched from Coventry on 20 September 2008 and is currently scheduled through to June 2009, with further autumn dates to be announced (See News, 9 Sep 2008).

Commenting on the West End closure, Janes said: “We brought the touring production of Buddy into the West End and we’ve had a great year and a half there; but we’re now delighted to be going back out on the road once again to play to all our fans across the UK and Ireland.”

No further productions have yet been announced for the Duchess.

- by Terri Paddock