IT’S back! The smash-hit West End musical Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story is rocking around the country celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the show and arrives at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre next week.

“The glasses go on and I’m Buddy – it’s like Clark Kent in reverse," says A.J. Jenks, who plays Buddy at certain performances.

A.J. Jenks and Christopher Weeks are buzzing with excitement at the start of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story’s 30th Anniversary nationwide tour. The two actors share the role of Buddy Holly, alternating between the physically demanding lead role and The Crickets’ rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan.

“You’ve got to think of the fans and the audience,” he adds. “The audience want to see us ace it. It’s a massive musical phenomenon and it will probably be the biggest part of my career."

Loved by critics and audiences alike, Buddy tells the enduring tale of the musical icon’s meteoric rise to fame, through to his final legendary performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, before his tragic and untimely death at the age of 22. In 18 short months the Texas-born singer revolutionised the face of contemporary music, influencing everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen.

It was on the London stage that Buddy’s legend took on a new life with the first of the big ‘jukebox’ musicals, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, in 1989. A smash hit in the West End, on tour and around the world for the past 30 years, the show has helped to introduce Buddy’s music to subsequent generations. In the show – which tours until Summer 2020 - audiences are treated to 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits, including timeless classics That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy and Rave On.

“My dad is a massive Buddy addict,” says A.J. “His music was always on in the car when I was growing up, so it didn’t take a lot to draw me to the show. So many other bands and artists have been influenced by the music of Buddy Holly – from the Stones to the Beatles. I was screaming to get this part. I’ve been working on getting it for the best part of a year.

“It is amazing to play such a musical legend. I still can’t get over the thought of ‘A.J. Jenks playing Buddy Holly’. It’s overwhelming. It feels like I’ve lucked out and won the lottery to get the part."

Buddy runs from Wednesday to Saturday.

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