Musical by Alan Janes, devised by Francis Essex, from an original idea by Laurie Mansfield, with additional material by Rob Bettinson.
The Man ... The Music ... The Legend Buddy the Musical follows the tragically short life of Buddy Holly from his first recording contract through to his move to New York and concludes with his fatal tour of Midwest America with Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper when - on 3 February 1959 he was tragically killed aged just 22. The musical shows Buddy as he sings his way from the recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee to Harlem's Apollo Theatre, culminating in a live rock'n'roll extravaganza at the 'Winter Dance Party' finale and features some of Buddy Holly's greatest hits including That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Rave On, Heartbeat, Raining In My Heart and many more, in a toe-tapping, hand-clapping extravaganza!
Original West End London Production 1989
Previewed 5 October 1989, Opened 12 October 1989, Closed 30 September 1995 at the Victoria Palace Theatre
Transferred 7 October 1995, Closed 3 March 2002 at the Strand Theatre (now Novello Theatre)
The original cast featured Paul Hipp as 'Buddy Holly', Enzo Squillino Jnr as 'Ritchie Valens', Gareth Marks as 'The Big Bopper', and Laurence Bouvard as 'Maria Elena', with David Bardsley, Graham Brand, Shenton Dixon, Paul Edwards, Ron Emslie, Trevor Michael Georges, Billy Geraghty, Carmen Gomez, Adam Henderson, David Howarth, Lorna Lee, Douglas Leland, Bo Light, Marlena Mackey, Vincent Marzello, Claudia Morris, Megg Nicol, Melvin Reeves, and Michael Rose.
During the run the role of 'Buddy Holly' was played by Billy Geraghty, Joe Lutton, Joe Warren Davis, Martin Fisher, Craig Urbani, Alex Bourne, and Angus MacGregor.
Directed by Rob Bettinson, with sets by Andy Walmsley, costumes by Bill Butler, lighting by Graham McLusky, and sound by Rick Price.
The performance on Tuesday 10 October 1989 was a Royal Charity Gala attended by Prince Edward in aid of the Sharon Allen Leukaemia Trust.
This production closed after a run of just over 12 years, playing a total of 6 preview performances, and 5,158 regular performances.
1st West End London Revival 2007
Previewed 3 August 2007, Opened 7 August 2007, Closed 7 February 2009 at the Duchess Theatre
It's Back! The legendary stage musical that has had audiences on their feet in every corner of the globe - Buddy in London at the Duchess Theatre
The original cast featured Dean Elliott and Matthew Wycliffe shared the role of 'Buddy Holly', Miguel Angel as 'Richie Valens', Lee Ormsby as 'The Big Bopper', and Lucia Rovardi as 'Maria Elena', with Gavin Barnes, Hayley Berkley, Tari Caple, Kerry James, Greg Last, Mike Lloyd, Sean Needham, Wendy Paver, and Nick Sayce.
Directed by Rob Bettinson, with sets by Adrian Rees, costumes by Bill Butler, lighting by Joe Atkins, and sound by Peter Cox.
Rob Bettinson's London theatre directing credits include Alan Janes and Rob Bettinson's Jailhouse Rock The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2004; Alan Janes and Rob Bettinson's 125th Street at the Shaftesbury Theatre 2002; Charles Aznavour's Lautrec at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2000; Francis Essex and Rob Bettinson's Jolson at the Victoria Palace in 2000; Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippell's The Goodbye Girl at the Albery Theatre in 1997; and Tommy Moeller, Greg Moeller, Russell Dunlop and Duke Minks' Leonardo the Musical at the Strand Theatre in 1993.
"This musical - with a stage littered with Fifties' adverts... has now taken up residence at London's Duchess Theatre - a venue which pulsates under the enthusiasm and energy of the show's talented musicians... It's obvious this is a gem of a musical and one which is surprisingly intimate, due to the small stage. Given this is the Buddy Holly Story, however, it is actually somewhat light on biographical details... But while interesting details emerge this is essentially one long Buddy Holly tribute gig. It showcases all the classics, including Heartbeat, Oh Boy and Maybe Baby... the performances are high-octane and infectious and include numbers by Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper... Nostalgic Buddy fans can't fail to love it." The Daily Express
"The last time I saw this most satisfying of all rock and roll tribute shows I voted it 'Buddy brilliant'. And, good golly Mr Holly, it still is. Forget that... it's been shoe-horned into a theatre so small its toes get pinched, with sets which look as though they have been built out of discarded cigarette packets. The fact is that - Oh Boy! - Buddy still bounds along with the passion and enthusiasm of the man himself... Under the direction of Rob Bettinson, who co-wrote the script with producer Alan Janes, it's a foot-tapping delight." The Sun
"The appeal of Buddy rests squarely on the slim-shouldered hits of four-eyed melody machine Buddy Holly. And they just keep coming in a show that pays mere lip service to plot in favour of whipping the joint into a jumping jive. On the musical front, this latest revival certainly delivers... but the big question is: do you want more from a show than just a tribute concert?... The paper thin attempt at filling in Holly's backstory, leading up to the plane crash which robbed 1950s pop of one of its top talents, tells you precious little about what made him tick. So, don't expect any great insights into rock'n'roll history. But if your heart beats faster at the prospect of Holly hits played with youthful style and verve, with a bit of The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens thrown in for good measure, then this is the place to be." The London Metro
Buddy in London at the Duchess Theatre previewed from 3 August 2007, opened on 7 August 2007, and closed on 7 February 2009