Although Rob Bettinson and Alan Janes scored a major hit with the long-running Buddy - which closed in the West End in May 2002 after a run of nearly 12 and a years - their latest musical has managed less than five months.

125h Street, opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 17 September 2002 (previews from 30 August), has posted early closing notices. In November, the show extended bookings by up to four months to 26 April 2003. Instead, it will now close on 11 January 2003.

The musical takes place during one hot and eventful summer's night in 1969 at the Apollo Theatre on 125th Street in Harlem, New York City. In the 1950s and 60s, the Apollo was a magnet for some of the biggest names in music as well as eager young hopefuls keen to display their talents in the weekly 'search for a star' spot. In a clever marketing ploy, that 'search for a star' spot is recreated on stage, with amateurs - selected from nationwide auditions - appearing in 125h Street for one week each.

The production stars Domenick Allen as TV presenter 'Tony Sorrento', is directed by Bettinson and designed by Adrian Rees, with lighting by Joe Atkins and choreography by Kim Gavin.

- by Terri Paddock